Growth guides for wheat, barley and oilseed rape

To manage crops effectively, it is important to set targets, assess progress, adjust inputs and monitor success. Covering wheat, barley and oilseed rape, our guidance outlines the main crop growth stages and components of yield, as well as the opportunities for management.

Why is it important to measure crop growth?

Measurements are vital to good management and for learning. As well as assessing weeds, pests and diseases, crop managers must assess the crop itself. Crop progress, structure and final performance can then be compared with benchmarks (where available) or new targets.

How to use benchmarks to assess cereal growth

The role of natural resources

A crop’s growth best relates to the natural resources it captures. By knowing available resources, managers can tell whether better or worse than expected growth is due to weather or husbandry (or both).

Natural resource capture and conversion by cereal crops

What are the principal growth stages?

A plant’s life cycle can be described by ten developmental phases. Understanding the principal growth stages (GS) can help assist with management decisions. For example, this uniform coding system features on plant protection product labels.

The growth stages of oilseed rape

The growth stages of cereals

Crop growth guides

Our crop growth guides describe the key growth stages and outline the main components of yield. This information can provide a foundation for management. The guidance for wheat and barley also presents metrics by which production targets (including benchmarks) can be set and crop progress monitored. It also explains how the metrics interrelate and can be influenced.

Oilseed rape growth guide

Wheat growth guide

Barley growth guide

Oat growth guide (not an AHDB publication)