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Intercropping is known to have environmental and economic benefits, but which varieties work best together in a UK climate?

Ben Adams - farmer Ben runs a 400 ha arable farm near Bicester, Oxfordshire, growing combinable crops and processing and delivering firewood over the winter. Ben has been trialling intercropping over the last year and hosted a LEGUMINOSE workshop at his farm in June to discuss his trials. Ben planted 9 different trial plots of 2 or 3 species mixes in each to see which combinations worked best both financially and rotationally. He also monitored issues with pests, weeds and disease, to assess how best to manage the different crops, and calculate minimal levels of inputs required.

Imelda Uwase - Researcher Imelda works at the University of Reading. She talks through the research she conducted on 'Exploring plant-soil interactions in cereal-legume intercropping' with The James Hutton Institute & University of Edinburgh and her involvement in the LEGUMINOSE project.

This event is the second in a series of on-farm workshops and webinars planned as part of the LEGUMINOSE project looking at Intercropping of cereals and pulses.

LEGUMINOSE is a Horizon Europe funded project, with UK funding provided by UKRI, investigating plant interactions in a cereal and pulse intercrop. For more information on LEGUMINOSE see their website: Or watch a recording of the kick-off meeting on YouTube.


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Innovative Farmers was established in 2012 by the Soil Association with the aim of bringing scientific rigour to on-farm trials co-designed by farmers and researchers. With a focus on sustainability and resilience, groups come together on discrete topics and on-farm trials addressing the topics that matter to them.

Pulses are leguminous crops harvested for dry protein-rich seed, with peas (pisum sativum) and beans (vicia faba) being the major crops in the UK.

The major commodity crops in the UK are wheat, barley, oilseed rape, field beans, sugar beet and potatoes, but around half of agricultural land grows grass.   

Intercropping is a method of planting two or more crops in close proximity to each other, either in alternate rows or in the same row. The goal of intercropping is to maximize the use of available space and resources, such as sunlight, water, and nutrients. It can also help to improve soil health and increase crop diversity, which can provide a range of benefits including increased resistance to pests and diseases, and a longer harvest season.

Share information, knowledge, resources and experience on how we can improve crop perfomance (yield, quality and profitability) whilst reducing reliance on input, reducing impacts and improving environmental performance.