Know How / Other crops

There are many minor and niche break crops, such as oats and linseed, which can bring many benefits to a crop rotation. This page aims to help you grow a more profitable break crop.

This is your starting point for identifying which crops to grow, how to grow them and address challenges such as weed and disease control.

Key areas of focus:

  • Choosing the right crop and finding contracts
  • Getting establishment right
  • Meeting market specifications
  • Crop agronomy, such as disease and weed control

Case studies

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SOILS

How a carbon pilot is opening up a direct market for farmers

Very few farmers have so far been paid for sequestering carbon within an arable rotation, but opportunities are beginning to open up, both globally and in the UK. Carl Krefting,…

ROTATIONS

How Berks farm estate is preparing for a progressive future

Developing a sustainable and viable farming operation while keeping to the Welford Park Estate’s ethos of protecting the land is the task being undertaken by the host of the AHDB…

SOILS

New AHDB Strategic Farm to focus on regenerative agriculture

Arable farmers interested in adopting regenerative agriculture practices will soon be able to gain tips and advice from an AHDB project, with one farmer sharing his ideas and experiences over…

CROP SELECTION

Hybrid rye chosen for low inputs and climate resilience

Hybrid grain rye is being grown for the first time by farming group Sentry in south Norfolk as a low-input crop on light land as it may be able to…

ROTATIONS

The challenge of establishing arable crops after herbage

Herbage crops are a valuable part of the Rooksnest Estate arable rotation and to maximise the benefits to soil health, its estate manager is investigating ways to establish following crops…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Garlic-based nematicide shows promise for Yorks root grower

The control of free-living and root-knot nematodes is a problem for many vegetable growers, particularly as the mainstay nematicide Vydate (oxamyl) was withdrawn from use last December. Despite its loss,…

Practical advice

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ARABLE

How to establish, manage and rejuvenate hedgerows

Healthy hedges are a lifeline for wildlife, providing food and habitat, including for many of the birds within the Farmland Bird Index as well as for priority mammal species in…

ESTABLISHMENT

How to tackle the spring milling oat challenge

The quest for spring oats to be a consistent, profitable crop that meets millers’ requirements continues after another difficult year for getting the best from the crop. A wide range…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How to maximise spring oats for healthier returns

Farmers could be missing out on additional returns of £100/ha when growing spring oats.  One expert believes this is due to farmers treating the white straw break crop like spring…

SOILS

How to reduce soil compaction and optimise crop yields

Compacted soils can typically yield 10-20% lower than healthy soils, which is why growers could benefit from a range of measures to cut compaction risks and avoid costly yield losses.…

CROP MANAGEMENT

4 steps to minimising the risk of growing spring crops

Last season was a classic example of the risks associated with spring cropping, as the exceptionally wet autumn and winter resulted in late drilling on many farms, and once sown,…

COMPLIANCE

Rule reminder: Key pesticide stewardship guidelines

Pesticide stewardship campaigns are now at the heart of industry efforts to prevent further losses of under-threat active ingredients. Here, we give a reminder of the stewardship guidelines or information…

Insights

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DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Regenerative farming: Is there a place for fungicides?

Regenerative farming systems can be used to minimise dependence on fungicides, but won’t exclude them completely. While most of the growers who have adopted regenerative agriculture are aiming to cut…

COMPLIANCE

New assurance rules on crops for biofuel from 1 July

Arable farmers need to comply with new rules on growing crops for the biofuel market. From 1 July 2021, production standards set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (Red)…

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Oat growers turn to expanding plant-based drinks market

With brands such as Oatly and Alpro on the supermarket shelves, oat drinks are presenting producers with a good opportunity for a British provenanced and sustainable oat crop. As an…

NVZS

The rules for arable farming in an NVZ in England

Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) account for about 55% of land in England, making it more likely than not that a farming enterprise is within a designated NVZ. So with NVZs…

ROTATIONS

Why yield mapping is first step in bridging BPS income gap

Change is coming with the loss of basic payment scheme payments forcing arable businesses to look at ways of bridging this income gap, which may involve bold changes like overhauling…

ROTATIONS

Analysis: Could lupins solve the break crop challenge?

Lupins could soon feature in arable rotations across parts of the UK, offering farmers a true break crop with potentially high margins along with valuable soil-improving benefits. The seed is…

CROP SELECTION

What to consider before replacing OSR with a specialist crop

Farmers looking to reduce their oilseed rape area by growing specialist crops should consider the wider impact of their cropping changes to avoid potential new weed, disease and pest problems…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Intercropping farm trials reveal weed and yield results

Growing two crops together, known as intercropping, can increase yields by suppressing weeds and reducing crop susceptibility to pest and disease attacks. On-farm research, run by the Innovative Farmers Network…

CROPS MARKETS AND PRICES

Miscanthus: Can it tackle climate change and turn a profit?

Growing miscanthus can make sense on poorer-quality land, offering farmers a financial return and a chance to do their bit for the environment. But the government is being urged by…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How a better understanding of oat agronomy will lift yields

Researchers are addressing the urgent need for better agronomy knowledge for spring oats, which has the potential to become a high-yielding breakcrop. Not only will the new benchmark figures help…

CROP SELECTION

Canary seed offers low cost alternative crop for growers

Canary seed could offer an alternative option for growers looking for a niche cereal that is simple to establish, has low input costs and is easy to harvest. The crop…

VARIETY SELECTION

Variety verdict: How Recommended List additions aid growers

Four new high-yielding oilseed rape varieties have come in at the top of the Recommended List for the UK, as Limagrain’s breeding programme comes to fruition. Six out of the…

Video

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ARABLE

Video: How to sample your soil for analysis

The quieter winter months are a prime time to get a snapshot of the state of soils and consider any adjustments to maximise fertility and crop potential. Unlike most other…

Video: Farmer demonstrates benefits of mixed cover crops

The advantages of growing winter cover crop soon after harvest have been highlighted at a farm on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border. Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf) demonstration farmer Jake Freestone, from…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Video: How nozzle choice affects spray quality and efficacy

Selecting the appropriate sprayer nozzle for pre-emergence weed control is an important step in cutting spray drift and maximising the efficacy of the chemicals being applied. There are four key…

ARABLE

Video: How to calibrate your slug pellet spreader

Slug pellets and the potential harm they can cause to watercourses is under intensifying scrutiny. Making sure pellet spreaders are properly set up will be vital to avoid breaching the…