Minor Arable Crops Group

What is the Minor Crops Group?

The Minor Crops Group is an informal collaboration of members of the UK agricultural community with an interest in the development and commercialisation of arable minor crops*.

(*Definition: Arable Minor Crops = Crop species that are or can typically be grown by arable farmers in the UK, that are not defined as Major UK crops by HSE in their Crop Definitions List (e.g. grassland, barley, forage maize, oats, wheat, dry harvested field beans, oilseed rape, sugar beet and potatoes).


The development and enhancement of a broad range of arable crop options for UK farmers is a key part of the Government’s strategy towards a cleaner, more sustainable and resilient future for British agriculture.

“Globally and in the UK, the dependence of agri-food systems on relatively few crops is a risk to food security and agricultural resilience. Climate change and weather extremes, intractable weeds, pests and diseases, agrochemical loss, market volatility, and the need for sustainable land management to protect the environment, mean cropping systems must change. Whether existing species that are underutilised, or novel to the UK, alternative crops offer opportunities to diversify food and forage production, or supply fibres, pharmaceuticals or biomass for energy” - Review of opportunities for diversifying UK agriculture through investment in underutilised crops Defra Project CH0224

As a key part of its 25 Year Environment Plan The UK Government’s Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMs) specifically aims for “farmers and land managers to deliver, alongside food production, significant and important outcomes for the climate and environment that can only be delivered by farmers and other land managers”

Meanwhile, there are government policies towards Variety Registration, the Registration and use of Plant Protection Products (PPPs), Seed Certification and Seeds Marketing, including Plant Health requirements for imports and exports, many of which are subjects of post-Brexit reviews. These reviews risk creating rules and regulations that, at best, create an inconvenience for the testing, development and enhancement of minor crops. Often resulting in systems and processes that appear to be contrary to the Governments’ own stated aims of a sustainable future for farming.

By their nature, many of the companies and organisations involved in the development of the individual minor crops are themselves relatively small or medium sized enterprises. When compared with companies and organisations involved in the major crops, many of these smaller organisations lack the scale to carry the same weight of influence with the authorities and/or lack the resources to engage in detailed and lengthy discussions or submissions about policy and regulation. Yet many of the various minor crops are facing the same or similar issues.

In order to work towards the stated goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and achieve great diversity in the cropping options available to UK farmers, an opportunity exists for these interested parties to share their experiences and pool their resources in order to act more effectively in promoting their minor crop interests.

Inaugaral Meeting

The first meeting of the Minor Crops Group will take place at 10am on Wednesday 26th April 2023 at NIAB Sophi Taylor Builiding. Park Farm, Villa Rd, Impington, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9NZ

Agenda (Draft)

Objectives of this Initial Meeting:

  1. To confirm whether there is any interest among the Participants to create a facility to encourage collaboration and ‘pool’ resources.
  2. To identify key areas of concern
  3. Within those areas of concern, to identify subjects where collaboration may be effective
  4. To agree first steps in a strategy to resolve those issues


10.00am – Arrive, Register & Coffee

10.30am – Introduction (Also; Ground Rules for Participants)

  • - Background
  • - Aims & Objectives for the Day           

10.45am – Subject Area 1:  Crop Protection and PPP Registration

  • - Background (5mins)
  • - Participant Examples; 3 or 4 participants have up to 5 minutes each to present (20 mins)
  • - Discussion (20 mins)
  • - Next Steps (10 mins)

11.40am – comfort break

11.50am – Subject Area 2:  Variety Registration and Crop Marketing

  • - Background (5mins)
  • - Participant Examples; 3 or 4 participants have up to 5 minutes each to present (20 mins)
  • - Discussion (15 mins)
  • - Next Steps (10 mins)

12.40am – Lunch

2.00 pm – Subject Area 3:  Seed Certification and Plant Health Regulations

  • - Background (5mins)
  • - Participant Examples; 3 or 4 participants have up to 5 minutes each to present (20 mins)
  • - Discussion (15 mins)
  • - Next Steps (10 mins)

2.55pm – comfort break

3.00pm – Summary, Conclusions and Next Steps

IS there a Desire to Work Together?

  • - Summary of each session
  • - Key Actions arising from each session
  • - Strategies???


3.30pm – Close and Depart

To book a place at this meeting email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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