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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How Kent grower plans to farm with no synthetic N fertiliser

Kent farmer Doug Wanstall has an ambitious plan to cut out all synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in his wheat and oilseed rape crops next season. To maximise financial resiliency, the farmer…


How organic matter increase helped farm hit net-zero target

Soil organic matter levels have seen a 1.1% increase at the Lockerley Estate in Hampshire, thanks to a diverse arable rotation, integrating sheep, cover crops, clover leys and organic manures.…


Spelt and rye earn premium spot in Berks organic rotation

Wasing Farm in Berkshire took the bold step into organic farming and is now home to a niche rotation growing spelt, spring rye and oats for the premium milling market.…


Beans and oats bicrop helps eliminate fertiliser in Cambs

Growing a simultaneous crop of beans and oats enabled one Cambridgeshire grower to completely eliminate fertiliser, fungicide and herbicide applications as well as increase land use efficiency. Arable farmer David…


Durham Estate team commits to regenerative agriculture

Raby Estate in County Durham has committed to rolling out regenerative agriculture on its 1,250ha farm and building a legacy for future generations. Farm manager Philip Vickers, one of our…


How award winner grew 9.2t/ha crop of winter oats

Simon Best, Farmers Weekly's Arable Farmer of the Year 2021, believes his focus on crop nutrition, tailoring fertiliser applications according to leaf tests carried out in the growing season, was…

Practical advice

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Hybrid rye: The benefits of growing it and how to do it well

Hybrid rye offers several benefits to arable rotations, not least because of the ability of its extensive root system to extract soil nutrients, potentially cutting nitrogen fertiliser requirements by 40%…


Winter oats facing high disease could benefit from T0 spray

Winter oat growers could benefit from an earlier spring fungicide than usual as crops face a higher disease pressure, following a relatively mild winter. Mildew, crown rust and septoria have…


5 cultivation and establishment methods compared

Establishment systems cover varying degrees of soil movement, from relatively little disturbance associated with direct-drilling and min-till through to deep cultivations and complete inversion with the likes of ploughing. Each…


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…


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…


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…


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Tips on reviewing arable crop rotations

This autumn may see rotational changes on farms, as producers grapple with the combined effects of reducing basic payment (BPS) incomes, volatile crop prices and hikes in input costs.  But…


Should farms sell or chop straw with fertiliser prices high?

The value of straw, whether for power stations or traditional forage and bedding markets remains, buoyant, and many growers will be looking to take advantage of that. However, with high…


4 regen farmers on how they overcome technical challenges

Starting out on a regenerative farming journey can seem daunting because of the potential pitfalls. But who better to ask for some tips than farmers who have already learned how…


A guide to the new Recommended List lodging scores

Tweaks to the AHDB Recommended List are helping growers get a better handle on the lodging risk from the different cereal variety options for drilling this autumn. There had been…


Why rye variety choice is key for biogas

Rye is becoming increasingly popular as a crop for anaerobic digestion and picking the right variety can help maximise gas yields from this cereal. Agronomist Craig Green at CMG Agronomy,…


Can silicon crop sprays benefit growers this season?

Despite silicon being the world’s second most abundant element, making up 25% of the earth's crust, crops can still benefit from its application, which has a vital role in plant…


Soil carbon: Targets and how to store it in arable fields

Farmers have a huge opportunity to help combat climate change by reducing emissions with the adoption of less intensive cultivations, as well as capturing and storing carbon in their fields. …


Phacelia and oil radish most effective cover crop in trial

Growing phacelia or oil radish cover crops in vegetable rotations proved to be the most effective cover option in a trial investigating 26 different species and varieties. Run by Agri-Tech…


Why sowing in February could up spring oat yield and quality

Planting spring oats as early as February at a reduced seed rate rather than the conventional March drill date could prove beneficial to both crop yield and quality this spring.…


5 high-tech advances that could change arable farming

Agritech innovation continues to offer advances in farmer decision making, while also potentially helping solving challenges around labour, climate change and input effectiveness. Farmers Weekly looks at five technologies that…


How new oat variety offers growers spring milling option

The spring oat variety Isabel, from KWS, joined the ADHB Recommended List in 2020, at a time when there was a great deal of interest in the spring oat crop,…


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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…


Video: Heavy duty drone can cope with changeable UK weather

Farmers are forever being told that in the not-so-distant future drones will become a common crop monitoring tool, but what good is this technology if it cannot withstand the unique…


Video: 7 pre-season checks every sprayer should have

Spring is just around the corner and farmers up and down the land are drawing up battle plans about how best to tackle the impending mountain of work. With many…


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…