Catch crop cultivation – A contribution to the EU Green Deal

The strategies for the future direction of agriculture in the EU and in Germany increasingly focus on climate and environmental protection. Catch crop cultivation may play a role in protecting soil, climate, water, and biodiversity. Data from a farm survey on sugar beet production in Germany between 2010 and 2019 were evaluated regarding the development of catch crop cultivation in connection with other production factors. The question was whether the cultivation of catch crops would support the intended environmental goals. It was investigated whether (1) fewer herbicides were used and (2) less nitrogen fertilizer was applied on fields with catch crops in comparison to fields without catch crops. The proportion of fields with catch crops before sugar beets has risen since greening was introduced as part of the EU’s common agricultural policy. Pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer applications were higher on fields with catch crops than on fields without. As these are results from a survey, it remains open why the use of herbicides and fertilizer in sugar beet cultivation is higher with than without catch crops. However, the results show that an increase in catch crop cultivation does not automatically have positive effects on the environment and climate. Sugar beet cultivation in practice should be further optimized in a targeted manner, so that greater benefits regarding environmental protection can be realized.

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Language: German

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