Cereal Challenge

Challenges are a series of Business Growth Programmes designed to improve the profitability of your farm business. They are structured to help enhance your business performance within your own particular situation.

Cereal Challenge for Growers

Agriculture is entering an uncertain time where business success will depend on efficiency of production. It is important that Northern Ireland cereal growers produce high yields at a cost of production which maintains their competitive position, whilst adhering to the rules of cross-compliance.


The aim of the Challenge is to improve the decision-making skills of cereal growers to achieve cost effective production whilst safeguarding the environment.

What is involved?

Growers undertaking the Cereals Challenge will complete five units which include

Cereal Enterprise Review

This unit enables the grower to review enterprise performance, it considers factors such as marketing, analysis of farm records and benchmarking. On achievement of the Challenge the grower will be able to make the necessary changes to eliminate factors with a negative influence on performance and in turn increase yield and quality.

Crop Establishment

Being a vital point in the success of any crop, establishment of the optimum plant population and the consequences of getting it wrong are covered. This unit will enable the grower to consider the three main issues involved in establishment of a successful cereal crop. Inevitably successful establishment depends on seed selection, cultivation technique and most importantly achievement of the target plant population.
Nutrient Management and Lodging Control
With the implementation of the Nitrates Directive this unit will cover topical and legislative issues concerning nutrient management. The ultimate aim of this unit will be to enable the grower to go through calculations for crop requirements, soil nutrient supply, organic manure supply and inorganic fertiliser application. Because nitrogen supply has a major influence on lodging, lodging control has been included in this unit.
Pest, Disease and Weed management
Pests, diseases and weeds are a major barrier to high yields of grain. With heightened public awareness of chemicals used in crop production it is important that minimum and most efficient use is made of "sprays" in the control of these problems. The end product of this unit will be a pest, disease and weed control plan, stating tolerance levels and action to be taken once these levels have been reached.

Harvest and Storage

The decisions to be made and operations to be carried out pre, during and post harvest will ultimately influence yield and profitability. This unit will highlight the affect of harvest decisions on overall yield and give the grower the ability to make educated choices in order to maximise yield and quality after investing so much in the growing of the crop.

How do I find out more?

If you would like more information on any of the Challenges please contact Challenge Administration:
Email - challenge@dardni.gov.uk
Tel: (028) 9442 6783
Fax: (028) 9442 6901
or contact your local Development Adviser.

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