I visited KWS near Thriplow, Cambridgeshire in May, and was amazed at the Spring Rye in their demo plots. Planted at the same time as the wheat and barley, it had almost three times the biomass and really caught my attention as a potential spring cereal for organic systems, with it's obvious weed suppressive capabilities from such vigourous early growth.
Organic Arable looked into Spring Rye over 10 years ago but it has never taken off, due to the low yields and lack of market. However, breeding efforts, particularly by KWS who are looking to develop and rye feed market for pigs in Germany, should have addressed the issue of low yields and recent discussions Organic Arable have had with a distillery, may provide the market, albeit small, to make Spring Rye a genuine option for some of you.
We are currently looking into seed availability for this Spring. With the spring barley market oversupplied, it would make sense to consider alternatives. Our relationship with White's means that spring oats remain a good option from both an agronomic and market perspective. Milling wheat is still also very much in demand.
If you'd be interested in including spring rye as part of your spring cropping, please get in touch.