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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OTHER CROPS

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.…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How a Scottish grower beats extreme weather and short season

Building a more resilient cropping system is at the heart of one Scottish grower’s strategy to better cope with the more extreme weather being seen, like this winter’s monsoon. While…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Miscanthus fuels Norfolk grower's desire to improve soil

Adam Brewer has turned to growing miscanthus to improve his soils and the environment, while also giving him a profitable low-input crop for his north Norfolk farm. The crop will…

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Winter barley abandoned for triticale on Shropshire farm

A Shropshire grower is swapping to triticale this spring after a wet autumn prevented him from drilling more than half of his winter barley area. With its tolerance to drought,…

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

Ancient grains deliver top prices for organic farmer

Organic grower Tim Sellers' rotation of primitive and ancient grains has allowed him to weather market volatility by supplying the growing artisan bread and granola market. Both spelt, which is…

WEED MANAGEMENT

Organic grower turns to sheep to control weeds

Shropshire organic grower Mark Lea was concerned that docks might become a nuisance weed on his farm and, as he could not reach for a chemical can, he turned to…

Practical advice

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CROP SELECTION

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…

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

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…

CROP SELECTION

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…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Pros and cons of growing maize or alternative forages

The freezing spring and summer drought of 2018 were followed by images of unharvested maize, stranded in flooded fields at the back end of 2019. Since then a winter of…

ROTATIONS

Pigs in the arable rotation - benefits and what to consider

Outdoor pig production could be a profitable opportunity for arable farmers looking to widen their crop rotation and reduce chemical use, especially for weed control. Integrating pigs into the arable…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Tips on growing a successful crop of naked oats

While naked oat crops require fewer inputs than other cereals, careful management including the robust use of growth regulators, is vital for maximising yields. Some growers have been forced to…

Insights

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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…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How wet weather is affecting cropping plans and farm finances

One of the most difficult autumns in memory for arable farmers is causing widespread disruption to fieldwork and rotations, threatening to put a giant dent in 2020 crop performance and…

HARVEST

Two diquat alternatives trialled in linseed

Two alternatives to diquat for desiccating linseed crops are currently being trialled, with the aim of being available to growers for harvest 2020. Linseed growers currently only have two options…

MARKET OPPORTUNITIES

The new crops that could soon profit UK farmers

White and purple wheats, food barleys, special types of beans, oats for health drinks and even chickpeas are some of the novel crop options being investigated by Agrii. Farmers can…

ARABLE

Why UK growers should consider soya in the rotation

While other crops have suffered this season due to the hot and dry conditions, Soya has had no such problems. Its aptness for drought means growers looking to lessen the…

Video

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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…

WEED MANAGEMENT

Video: Garford weeder ends crop failures at organic farm

Since starting to weed his cereal crops five years ago with a Garford mechanical hoe, organic grower Robert Hyde hasn’t lost any of his crops to weeds. In the past…

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…