AB14: Harvested low input cereal

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the harvested low input cereal option.

How much will be paid

£266 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel


Only on:

  • arable land
  • temporary grassland

Where this option cannot be used

After the following break crops:

  • oilseed rape
  • potatoes
  • beans
  • peas

How this option will benefit the environment

An open-structured cereal crop provides summer foraging sites for declining and localised farmland birds and habitat for brown hare, rare arable plants and pollinator species, such as bees and beneficial insects.

If successful there will be:

  • areas of open crop growth suitable for crop nesting birds such as skylarks, and a range of declining arable plants and other broadleaved species
  • brown hare and foraging farmland birds such as yellowhammer and reed bunting using the crop
  • important farmland pollinator species, such as bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and hoverflies, visiting the flowers in these areas


  • establish a cereal crop every year in the spring between February and April or in the autumn between October and December, either as strips 6m to 24m wide or on a field scale
  • create an open crop structure by managing the crop to deliver between 450 and 700 fertile tillers per square metre

Do not:

  • harvest the crop before 15 July
  • apply any herbicides, except those on the list of permitted active ingredients available from Natural England
  • apply insecticides after 15 March

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • records at parcel level of field operations, including any associated invoices

The following options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this option.

Pick the right location

Sites with low levels of pernicious weeds such as couch, blackgrass, brome, ryegrass and wild oats are best, although it may be necessary to use this option on sites with higher weed burdens if important populations of target plants or birds are present.

Managing the crop

Using lower seed rates between 50kg per ha and 100kg per ha will help make sure that the crop is not too dense. It will allow broadleaved plants to establish and provide foraging options for fledged farmland bird chicks.

There are a range of cereals that can be used for this option, including wheat, barley, triticale, oats and rye. Do not use maize, sorghum of any kind or millet as the cereal in this option – the herbicide and fertiliser management and dense ground-covering traits are not suitable to deliver the outcomes of this option.

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