Cereals - why compost is good for cereals

Using quality compost regularly has significant long-term benefits for cereal crops such as wheat, barley and oats. A five year study funded by Grantscape through the Landfill Communities Scheme, found that compost produced a 7% increase in yields of winter wheat and barley, in both the fourth and fifth years of the crop rotation

Why is compost good for cereals?

The study showed the compost had enhanced the soil in two significant ways:

Physical condition:

  • Increased organic matter
  • Increased water retention
  • Improved water infiltration - less run off and risk of soil erosion
  • Improved soil structure and workability

Chemical condition:

  • Nutrient balance and biodiversity
  • Increased soil biodiversity and microbial activity
  • Presence of potash, phosphate and other key nutrients
  • Optimised the use of applied fertiliser nitrogen

As compost breaks down, it also helps to stabilise the structure of the soil for the long term, encouraging increased root penetration, which in turn improves crop establishment and ensures that cereal crops make efficient use of added nutrients