Know How / Crop selection

Guidance and advice on choosing which spring or winter crops to grow for your end market to ensure you are profitable and insured against volatility. Find out which markets offer a premium, such as spring barley for whisky or milling wheat for bread and specialist crops such as quinoa or naked oats.

Advice and tips


Beans could be an option for frustrated oilseed rape growers

Buy-back contracts for beans are set to be expanded as agronomy group Frontier looks for more than its current 100 growers for harvest 2021, which may interest oilseed rape growers…


Why lupins could make the breakthrough as a break crop

Lupins are finding a home on one Kent family-run farm as a useful spring-sown break crop, with a guaranteed price and a ready market for the protein-rich grain. The leguminous…


Why hemp is an attractive alternative crop to OSR

Hemp is set to become a viable and attractive break crop alternative to oilseed rape, as farmers are being sought to supply the growing UK market next season. Compared with…


Pros and cons of alternative breakcrops to OSR

Many oilseed rape growers will be weighing up what alternative breakcrops to grow, with early forecasts suggesting the UK area could struggle to reach 300,000ha next season, a drop of…

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Case studies


Why one Scottish light land estate has opted to grow rye

Hybrid rye is replacing wheat and barley on one light land Perthshire estate as it has a higher yield and lower inputs, while satisfying a growing thirst for rye whisky.…


Hants grower focuses on sustainable farming as support fades

Hampshire farm manager Andy Bason is looking to improve his sustainable farming practices with a focus on soil health in preparation for the ending of direct farm subsidies. He is…


Berkshire grower earns a good premium from German wheat

Berkshire wheat grower Nick Philp is growing the German top-quality milling wheat variety Nelson, as it gives him a good price premium over most other breadmakers at a lower fungicide…


Greening farms prepare for radical switch in farm policy

Rutland farm manager Matt Houldcroft is set to put his least productive land into environmental schemes to prepare for a future “public money for public good” farm policy. He is…

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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…


Is bruchid beetle making spring beans less attractive?

Despite increasing concern over uncontrollable bruchid beetle in some parts of the UK, rotational benefits and a reasonable feed market shouldn’t put growers off drilling spring beans for harvest 2021.…


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…

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Survey reveals slump in OSR area and Group 3 wheat revival

The oilseed rape area in England and Scotland is 11% down on last year, making it the smallest area of the crop for 16 years, according to new AHDB figures.…


Hybrid feed barley Kingsbarn promises yield and quality

The new six-row hybrid barley variety from Syngenta promises consistently high yields, good disease resistance and a comparable quality to conventional two row varieties. Kingsbarn, which is officially launched to…


Oilseed rape area is set to fall as growers lose faith

The area of oilseed rape drilled this summer is likely to drop as growers fall out of love for the crop. The only unknown is how large the decline will…


Staffs grower looks to produce beans for fish food

Staffordshire farmer Rob Atkin is looking to grow spring beans this season on a new contract that will give him a premium price for his crop, as it is intended…

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Video: Spring barley cut ahead of wheat in Cambridgeshire

Spring barley is being cut ahead of of winter wheat on James Peck’s Cambridgeshire farm and showing a good yields of 7.5-8t/ha. Mr Peck had cut some wheat for a…

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