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Helping you find the best cover
  • When planted between two cash crops, cover crops have the ability to add soil organic matter and nutrients, reduce soil erosion and leaching, promote moisture management, benefit biodiversity and mitigate pest and disease outbreaks. This in turn can boost harvests,  make cost savings for the farm, and deliver for the wider environment.

  • As well as the direct benefits they bring to the farmer and field, cover crops can also form a core element of the Government’s agri-environment schemes, providing growers with additional revenue streams as a result. They also align well with current trends towards regenerative agricultural systems, maintaining living roots in the soil, keeping soil covered and maximising crop diversity.

  • As with any newly adopted approach to farmland management, cover cropping is not always ‘one size fits all’, and a poor decision at any stage of the cover cropping process, from seed selection to termination, can result in failed crops, wasted time, financial loss and missed opportunities.

  • To minimise the risk, and maximise the benefits of cover cropping, our guide provides a quick reference plant species selection tool, along with useful details on establishment and termination, to help farmers on their cover cropping journey.

About our cover crop partnership

Led by award-winning Yorkshire farmer Angus Gowthorpe, who runs a 500-acre mixed farming enterprise near York, this website has been developed to help other farmers across the UK to better unlock the potential of cover crops at a crucial time for agriculture and the environment.

In partnership with the Farmer Scientist Network, a group supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, David Purdy Soils, Kings Crops / Frontier, Newcastle University and the AHDB, Angus successfully secured funds to design and develop a farmers’ guide to cover crop species selection, establishment, and termination.
This guide seeks to be the UK’s first accessible, independent, farmer-led and scientifically supported ‘Farmers’ guide to cover crop selection, establishment and termination’ to provide confidence for farmers wishing to plant the right cover crops for their farms.
Presented in web format, our guide draws together existing resources into a ‘one-stop-shop’, incorporating a range of on-farm variables, such as soil composition and regional climates, to help farmers establish a robust and reliable approach to planting, rotating, and managing the benefits of cover crops on their farms.
Project funding was gratefully received through the Farming Innovation Programme, delivered by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, in collaboration with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as part of the Research Starter Competition. The competition aims to support farmgate ideas from farmers, growers, and foresters to solve major problems facing their business on themes of sustainability, productivity, and resilience.
David Purdy (David Purdy Soils), Clive Wood (Kings Crops/Frontier), Dave George (Newcastle University), Holly Jones (Yorkshire Agricultural Society) and Angus Gowthorpe (Approach Farm)

What we have acheived?

Bespoke Selection Tool
Farmer Case Studies
Farmer-Led Guide
Impartial Resource
How we worked with farmers to design the platform
We wanted to ensure that the guide was farmer-led from the outset, and with this in mind we worked with farmers and other stakeholders to co-design with end-users from the very beginning.
By hosting a series of online, in-person and on-farm workshops we were able to discuss the guide with farmers to identify and include content of most value to them, making sure that we endeavored to fill any knowledge gaps.



Co-design activities included:
  • Hosting an in-person workshop at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society which included 75+ farmers inputting into the design of the platform.
  • Hosting an on-farm workshop at Molescroft Farm kindly hosted by Tamara Hall, James Brown and a trails tour by Clive Wood of KingsCrops/Frontier.
  • Hosting a webinar workshop for those who were not able to attend the above.
  • Utilising the findings from the Cover Crop Survey undertaken by Newcastle University Student, Max Pybus, with the 50+ responses received helping to shape the guide.
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