The impacts of winter forage crop grazing usually include soil compaction from livestock treading, and increased urea on soil. Potential risks of these include impacts on subsequent crop production and nitrogen loss from soil via leaching into waterways or N2O (nitrous oxide) greenhouse gas emissions.
Using crop establishment techniques that reduce soil compaction and its adverse effect on nitrogen loss, while supporting overall crop production, is an important consideration for growers.
A new study, part of the Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching (FRNL) programme and the Plant & Food Research-led Strategic Science Investment Fund programme, Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems, looked at the effects of soil compaction and urine from livestock on subsequent crop production and nitrogen loss.
A specific focus was on whether no-tillage (direct drill) crop establishment could help to reduce the risk of nitrogen losses and the performance of subsequent crops. Continue reading