Catch Crops - Breeding at KWS
For decades, KWS breeds, produces and sells Catch Crops. Traditionally, the focus lies on white mustard and oil radish and particularly on breeding resistant varieties to beet cyst nematodes Heterodera schachtii, since these varieties are used as a treatment against this pest.
In addition, small-grained species like Phacelia, India Buckwheat and winter wild turnip are bred at KWS. Besides the resistance to nematodes, breeding goals of all these species are a fast soil cover, a strong youth development, a high weed suppressing plant density and a rather late blooming formation.
Late blooming enables a strong development of green crop material even if the seeds were sown early. Since Phacelia is also used as a bee pasture, blooming is desired in this case.
In some countries, Catch Crops are sold in compositions named KWS AckerFit. Long term breeding experience simplify the choice of components to integrate those species in the compositions, which are both phytosanitary and agronomically ideal for diverse crop rotations. Due to an intense trial system, evaluations regarding youth development, blooming time, bio-mass growth and root systems are made as well as recommendations for cultivation.
The root systems can be separated into tap and tuft roots. Because of the combination of these root types, the soil is rooted more intense and can therefore absorb more nutrients in comparison to pure stands. In addition, leaching of nutrients can be reduced, especially compared to wasteland.