In a context where climate change threatens the stability of agricultural systems, farmers are constantly seeking adaptation solutions.

Among these, the use of cover crops generates increasing interest. These plants, specifically grown to cover the soil between two crops, offer a wide range of benefits for the soil and following crops. Indeed, permanent soil cover helps to limit erosion and nitrate leaching, but depending on the chosen species, other benefits can be observed. For example, these cover crops can structure the soil, fix atmospheric nitrogen, combat pests, or even store carbon. It is therefore a matter of associating species in order to harness their specific characteristics for the benefit of the farm.

Benefits of botanical families

Plants are grouped into several botanical families, each with its own characteristics. For example, legumes such as clovers and alfalfa have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, while grasses like rye or ryegrass can provide effective soil cover, contribute to soil structure, aid in mineral element recycling, and maintain a high C/N ratio. Similarly, crucifers such as radishes or mustard can help in soil structuring.

By using this approach of grouping by species families, complementary plants can be selected to maximize the agronomic and environmental benefits of cover crops. It is also important to consider root systems. By combining species with varied root systems, soil resource utilization can be maximized, improving soil structure and fertility, and reducing competition between plants for nutrients and water. This root complementarity promotes soil health and structure therefore stabilizes and improve following crop productivity while reducing risks of diseases and water stress.


  • Soil structure,
  • Mineral element recycling,
  • High C/N.


  • Fixes atmospheric nitrogen,
  • Crucial role in nitrogen supply,
  • Very high protein forage.


  • Best for catch crops,
  • Quick to establish,
  • Tolerates poor seeding conditions.

Choosing the right cover crop for your needs

It is crucial to plan in advance the intended objective for your Cover Crop. They are usually classified into 3 main objectives:

  • Energy Intended Cover Crops: designed to produce biomass for biogas plants, thereby contributing to renewable energy production. (MAS4 Energy)
  • Cover Crop for Nitrate Capture “Catch Crops”: Captures nitrogen residues from previous crops, thus limiting their impact on water resources such as rivers and groundwater. (MAS4 Cover)
  • Multi-Service Intercroping: offers a diverse range of services, from soil structuring to nitrogen fixation, as well as weed and pest regulation, as illustrated in the diagram below. (MAS4 Cover | MAS4 Nutri | MAS4 Expert)

Multi-Service InterCroping benefits | Ref:

Economic benefits for farmers

  • Access to subsidies :
    Cover crops play a role in combating nitrate pollution, climate change, and protecting water resources. Cover cropping is thus an integral part of states’ strategies to address these environmental challenges and becomes indispensable. This is why European subsidies (CAP aid) are granted to farmers who adhere to “Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions” (GAEC).
  • Input savings :
    Well-managed cover crops can lead to savings of around 60 kg of nitrogen per hectare for the following crop and better control of weeds in fields. As a result, farmers can reduce their mineral nitrogen input and decrease the use of herbicide treatments.

MAS4 Mixture Portfolio consist of cover, forage and energy seed mixtures and is divided into 4 segments: COVER, NUTRI, EXPERT and ENERGY. Each segment offers a product portfolio adapted to different needs, country, region and regulation.