A new winter active crop to improve soil nitrogen uptake
Nutrient losses due to leaching are often greatest when soils are wet and draining, mainly during winter and often after summer crops are harvested or grazed in autumn and early-winter. Cover crops such as oats have been used as a management option to reduce nitrogen leaching, but the degree of benefit is largely dependent on management for achieving high crop yields. Triticale, due largely to its ryecorn parentage, has a deep root system resulting in an excellent nutrient scavenging ability. The breeding of a new and unique triticale cultivar, T100 (marketed under the brand name of ‘WinterMax’), with proven winter activity and early establishment vigour provides an improved option for nutrient ‘trapping’ compared with existing winter cover crops. Field trials were sown in autumn or winter after maize cropping or with differing levels of applied nitrogen, at two sites in Canterbury. The winter-active triticale removed 19, 21, 28, 35 and 45% more nitrogen from wet soils than another triticale, oats, ryecorn, wheat and annual ryegrass, respectively.
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