Cereals and Oilseeds sector plan

Looking ahead, the UK cereals and oilseeds market is expected to show great volatility as it continues to be subjected to the pressures of new Brexit impacts on imports and exports, changing weather patterns, and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases.

However, there is the positive of a continuing strong domestic market. To maintain their productivity and competitive advantage, farmers will have to manage several challenges.

*Cereals and Oilseeds in the United Kingdom

We will build on our investment in areas such as the Recommended Lists, Farmbench, soils research, and the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209), to deliver information in a tailored way to reflect individual farm situations.

The challenges are:

  • How can we remain financially viable as the current stepwise reduction in payment support is only partly offset by ELMs?
  • With less chemistry available, how do we maintain crop quality and tackle weed, pest and disease pressures with greater adoption of IPM?
  • How can meeting Net Zero ambitions for the environment be achieved in a profitable manner in supply chains?
  • How can the industry attract and retain the right level of skilled staff for the future?
  • How do we maintain our industry reputation to ensure the consumer continues to purchase UK products?

Managing pest and disease threats though greater use of IPM

  • We will pull together in one place all the knowledge we can find globally on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for controlling pests and diseases, to help reduce reliance on chemical plant protection products, and ensure good access to it for growers and advisers
  • We will set up a scheme to meet our ambition to widely monitor the incidence of pests and diseases in the UK to inform our strategy and provide real-time data to growers and advisers
  • We will find ways to integrate data on pests and diseases from different sources into a simple format that can then be used to aid decision-making on farm
  • We will find ways to help growers overcome their barriers to using IPM including how to manage the risk of reducing their dependence on chemical plant protection products
  • Using our Prevent, Detect, Control approach, we will risk assess and prioritise key pests and diseases and identify solutions and tools to accompany them – such as the recently released Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus management tool
  • Through our network of Strategic Cereal Farms, we will run field-scale trials of the latest research from the UK and overseas, to assess how it can practically help farmers reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides
  • We will deliver a structured programme of on-farm activities to share how farmers can reduce their reliance on chemistry through better use of data including that from our Recommended List, Nutrient Management Guide, fungicide performance and soils work, and this will include rotations, cover crops and biopesticides

Improving business profitability for farmers and processors

  • We will continue to deliver world-class market intelligence and analysis to help farmers and supply chains navigate their way through changing trade patterns
  • We will use our Farmbench data to help identify which farm business areas drive the greatest profitability, and share that knowledge with farmers through an expanding network of Monitor Farms and discussion groups. These will be delivered in partnership with others in the industry. In the future, we will also help growers to meet the requirements for ELMs payments
  • We will look at the marketing options farmers have to sell their grain and provide easy to use tools to help them make better decisions
  • We will focus on skills and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for farmers and their staff. This will help deliver the skills needed to support a modern and forward-looking workforce. To do this, we will partner with others in the industry including the new Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture
  • Working with the industry, we will revisit options for a digital grain passport system to save time, improve product traceability and collect data that can drive a profitable industry
  • We will monitor the reputation of UK grain and oilseeds production to ensure that it competes favourably with imports on non-cost issues
  • We will develop ways for growers and the industry to meet their Net Zero carbon ambitions

Explore some of our current work in Cereals and Oilseeds

Download a copy of the full strategy proposal

Change Programme and Strategy 2021-2026 (PDF)