Cover Crops, Plant diversity

Cover Crop

Make the soil healthier so our animals are healthier


Linnburn is on a journey to continually improve the environment that our animals live in. We want to make the soil healthier so our animals are healthier.

In 2014 Linnburn Station spoke to Gabe Brown Of Browns Ranch North Dakota USA. His words were… don’t bother soil testing just get some seeds and put them in the ground. We took this to heart and soon worked out that it wasn’t quite as straight forward as simply getting seeds. Through trial and error we planted seeds and learnt when to plant different species, at what time and in what combinations.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about cover crops or visit www.symbiosis.co.nz to learn more about cover crops and even order a mix.

We learnt a lot because we did not over complicate things we simply started planting in September each year as soon as the soil temperature was 8 degrees and would plant all the way through to the first frost in March. Planting 600 to 1000 hectares each year. Up until 2014 we had only been planting 150 to 200 hectares.

We have seen how incredible nature is at dealing with challenges when diversity of plants is present. Plants have the ability to work symbiotically with the microbiology in the ground to share nutrients and be resilient when there is drought.

On our journey we learnt that disturbing (tillage) the soil oxidizes soil carbon and places it in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Due to this fact Linnburn uses a Cross Slot no tillage seed drill to plant diverse species of plants

No where in nature do we see only one or two species of plants like rye grass and clover so we use a regenerative approach that utilises soil biology and plant diversity. Tilling and synthetic fertiliser are out. Spraying is disappearing. We’re letting our pastures grow to levels traditional food producers would term crazy. We’re using cover crops and biological feeders. We’re rotating our land use and utilising short term intensive rotational grazing. We’re letting our animals pick and choose what they want to eat and cover crops are a key component.

All species of plant do different things to help the soil and the life around it. The tables in the following images concisely illustrate how different cover crops address your resource concerns.

Cover Crop Table

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