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Game cover

Game cover crops will only reach their full potential if they are well managed right from the start. A successfully managed shoot is both profitable and rewarding to landowners and the local community, as it contributes positively to the countryside and the overall environment. Check out the following information to help guide you to successful establishment of game cover crops; any regional or particular soil conditions have not been taken into consideration – please call us on 01437 781780 for advice for your specific situation.

Crop rotation

Rotations are essential to help reduce soil-borne diseases such as club root in brassicas. A rotational system will also help to improve soil fertility and structure as each crop can benefit the soil in different ways, each requiring different trace elements. Crop rotation is essential where weeds and/or disease have become a persistent problem.

Cultivations

A well prepared seed bed is essential for crop health and development, as a rapidly growing game cover crop has more chance of resisting pest attack. Generally, ploughing and rapid consolidation to conserve moisture is the ideal start for these crops. Ensure the seed bed is fine and firm to help reduce the risk of slug activity.

Sowing

Where possible we recommend drilling game cover crops. This ensures accurate seed depth and row width and will provide maximum seed to soil contact that will encourage a speedy establishment. Sowing at the correct row width will also improve bird holding and driving capability. Each growing season is completely different, but try not to sow too early to ensure the soil temperature is warm enough to encourage a quick successful germination.

Soil Tests and Fertiliser

Soil testing is essential to determine the soil pH and fertility, which can then be managed accordingly to maximise its potential. Farmyard manure is an excellent way of improving soil structure and adding fertility. Fertiliser will also be required at the early stages of establishment to maximise the output of your game cover crop. Lime may be required for some acid soils to balance the soil pH.

Weed control

The stale seed bed technique is a well proven weed control system and allows early control of weeds. The technique involves spraying, ploughing and cultivating to encourage weed seeds to germinate in a first flush, then re-spraying; this can be repeated as often as necessary to help achieve a clean seed bed. This technique is very useful where mixtures are grown and no herbicide can be recommended.

 

Our wide range of seed mixtures such as Northern Star, Partridge Mix, Traditional Mix and Decoy Game Mix contain various combinations of maize, white and red millet, buckwheat, kale, sunflower, mustard, forage rape, linseed, beans, triticale and barley. Check out our Deer Lawn and Rearing Pen mixes which include grasses such as Meadow Fescue, Timothy, Ryegrasses and white clovers.

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Four ten mix

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This mixture will provide cover and feed throughout the season. Dwarf Sorghum will provide added warmth and cover below the Maize. Both species have similar husbandry techniques

Sundown Mixture

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A carefully blended mixture of Game Cover Maize and Sunflowers that combines the fantastic feeding potential of both species. This mixture provides full season cover and feed. It is not recommended for marginal areas.

Northern star game mixture

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Northern star game mixture is ideal for use in colder, more exposed areas. This mixture will provide cover and feed as well as being a haven for wildlife throughout the season. The Triticale in the mixture is beneficial where rabbit damage is a potential problem. It is advisable to sow in wide rows to enable birds to have free access.

Partridge mixture

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A very hardy mixture that thrives in colder, poorer soils. This mixture has an open canopy that encourages and holds partridges and is useful as a break crop from Kale.

Overdrive

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A superb combination of winter hardy cover provided by the Kale and high quality feed provided by the Quinoa. This mixture is excellent for holding birds.

Traditional Game Cover Mixture

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A traditional mixture of species specially selected for their feed and cover qualities.

Decoy Game Seed Mixture

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A combination of six small seed producing species which will provide excellent cover and feed and will last throughout the season.

Boost mixture

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A fast growing, quick to establish, frost hardy crop. Ideal to sow in late summer or early autumn to provide cover that will last throughout the winter. Excellent as a 'rescue' mixture for patching failed crops or when a later sown crop is required.

Deer Lawn Seed Mixture

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A mixture blended to provide a wide and very diverse blend of forage which will suit the needs of most deer species found in the UK.

General Purpose Rearing Pen Mix

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A mixture of species which provides a perfect rearing/ release pen mixture.

Kwik Fix

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This is a flexible cover crop which can be used to patch failed spring game covers.

Late cover mixture

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A rapidly establishing and maturing mixture providing winter cover to the height of 2-3 feet. It is often used as a patching crop where spring crops have failed. This mixture will tolerate drought conditions.

Zoom Brassica Mixture

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Zoom is a blend of Winfred Hybrid Brassica and Forage Rape. This is a very vigorous and quick growing mixture which is ideal for replacing failed crops or patching spring sown crops. High seedling vigour gives a reliable establishment of a high leaf to stem ratio crop with carefully selected varieties that have good disease and bolting resistance.