E-learning courses designed to be undertaken at your own pace and to support your continuous professional development

Upskill . Adapt . Grow

NIAB offers a series of e-learning courses related to arable cropping, suitable for non-specialists through to advanced practitioners. The courses provide access to the latest technical information and are delivered in modular formats, utilising technical tools, webinars, video’s, podcasts and incorporate self assessment quizzes to consolidate learning.

You have the option to purchase an annual subscription giving access to all the courses and any additional courses added during that subscription period or to purchase courses individually. All our courses attract BASIS and NRoSO points.

Available courses

NSP logo

The Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) has set out industry guidelines, which are included in the Red Tractor protocol, to protect the consumer, operator and environment. In accordance with this, NSP and NIAB have developed this course to present the best practice guidelines for safe granular nematicide use. The NSP Protocol is now an audited part of the Red Tractor Standard for potatoes and sugar beet.

4 BASIS points and 1 NRoSo point

This entry level course provides a comprehensive guide to ensure safe and legal purchasing, storage and disposal of pesticides. It is packed with advice and provides useful links to relevant guidelines and further information making it an important resource for anyone working with plant protection products on farm.

2 BASIS points and 1 NRoSO point

  • Learning outcomes: At the end of this course participants will be able to:

    • Purchase pesticides with confidence of not purchasing illegal pesticides
    • Design a pesticide store for the safe storage of chemicals
    • Store pesticides on your farm to the standards of the chemicals regulation division of the Health and Safety Executive
    • Carry out good store management
    • Maintain records relating to pesticide use and disposal
Devised by: Bill Clark

The accurate identification and differentiation between fungal diseases and physiological leaf symptoms in barley are paramount to implementing successful disease control strategies.

This interactive quiz-based course will improve your identification skills of twelve barley diseases through the use of images, descriptions and diagnostic features, aiding you to make the correct treatment decisions in the field.

2 BASIS points and 1 NRoSO point

Devised by: Douglas Hobbs

Despite current ex-farm prices, winter oilseed rape remains a valuable break crop in a combinable crop rotation. Careful attention to agronomy, especially disease management, will help to maximise profitability. Oilseed rape suffers from a number of yield-robbing diseases and accurate identification is the first step towards control.

This interactive quiz-based course, based on a series of images, descriptions and diagnostic features, will help you to identify and become more familiar with ten diseases of oilseed rape leading to improved crop management strategies.

2 BASIS points and 1 NRoSO point

Building arable rotations for soil fertility, yield and resilience course will equip you with the skills required to develop durable combinable crop rotations, including the impact of cultivations, crop choice and soil management on yield and gross margin return. Users are guided through the principles of rotational planning, based on results from NIAB TAG’s long-term rotational studies.

The course provides access to the interactive Rotations modelling tool. This robust web-based programme can be used for rotation planning, including demonstrating the average gross margin of a chosen system.

Detailed guidance enables the user to develop, plan and modify rotations that are both agronomically and economically resilient. By inputting your own gross margin costings the model can be used as a benchmarking tool against the NIAB standard, based on the impact on margins from long-term experimental trials from NIAB TAG and others.

Upon completion of this course users will understand:

  • the impact of short and long rotations on crop species
  • how cultivation techniques affect yield and margin
  • how making rotation changes can impact the overall profitability of a farm
  • how to use the Rotations modelling tool

2 BASIS points and 1 NRoSO point

  • With the wealth of data that drives the Rotations modelling tool and an understanding of the basis on how crops perform in different cultivation systems in different soil types, it can help users look at their business in a more holistic way and at their land in a wider context.

    Rotations goes beyond just looking at the most profitable rotation combination, helping users develop flexible, long-term resilient strategies by comparing existing practice with different scenarios.

    Farmers are reviewing rotation choices for reasons beyond just maximising margin, for example cultural adaptations for managing black-grass. The model allows the user to look at the short and longer term impacts on margin by building in different cultural controls such as cultivation, crop choice and drilling date. It can also help users understand the impact of introducing new crops to meet legislative requirements, e.g. winter beans to meet EFA criteria, and the best cultivation approaches.

Devised by: Bill Clark

Learn about fungicide management and gain access to the unique variety fungicide planning tool which allows users to see how individual varieties respond to fungicide inputs. Also included is a wheat disease database that covers identification, biology and control. This is an ideal follow-up to the principles learnt in our Wheat disease identification e-learning course. 

  • 1 BASIS point and 1 NRoSO point

This course explains the science behind some of the remote sensing techniques that are used in modern farming. It explains satellite, air-borne and tractor-mounted sensors, what they actually measure and how to interpret the images. Understanding the science behind these technologies will allow you to use them more effectively on farm to help manage your inputs. The course covers a wide range of topics that explain how to use remote sensing in crop management, including:

  • Introduction to the science behind remote sensing
  • Interpreting colour and NDVI images in relation to crop growth stages and disease levels
  • Spectral reflectance and mapping
  • Thermal images and crops, including understanding photosynthesis and respiration
  • The role of remote sensing in yield forecasting
  • How to use weed maps to plan control strategies
  • The science behind remote sensing: summary
  • The course covers a wide range of topics that explain how to use remote sensing in crop management, including:

    • Introduction to the science behind remote sensing
    • Interpreting colour and NDVI images in relation to crop growth stages and disease levels
    • Spectral reflectance and mapping
    • Thermal images and crops, including understanding photosynthesis and respiration
    • The role of remote sensing in yield forecasting
    • How to use weed maps to plan control strategies
    • The science behind remote sensing: summary

    At the end of the course there is a short test.  You need to score over 70% in order to pass and claim CPD points.

    1 BASIS and 1 NRoSO point

This entry level course gives an overview of arable agriculture, showing the process of growing six common agricultural crops over the course of a year, as well as exploring related issues, such as soil, rotations and the supply chain from crop research and development through to purchase of the product by the consumer. Recommended web browsers are Chrome and Internet Explorer.

  • The course contains the following sections:

    • The road from research to fork with insight into the arable supply chain: Research and development; agro-industry suppliers; arable production; merchants; processing; retailer through to the consumer
    • Soils for arable farming: Types/textures; mineral properties; structure
    • Soil problems: Compaction; cultivation/plough pan; capping
    • Crop rotation: What is crop rotation and why is it important to rotate crops? Information is given on crop choice
    • The arable year: Explores the processes involved in growing winter wheat, winter barley, potatoes, field beans, sugar beet and oilseed rape through the course of a year. This section also looks at common pests, diseases and weeds and describes the damage they cause
    • Arable farm machinery: Land preparation; drilling; applications; harvest; maintenance
    • Production figures and useful charts
    • Useful glossary, with definitions of key terms
    • Arable year toolbox

    This course would be ideally suited to people working in the agricultural industry, but not directly involved in farming or agricultural science, who may benefit from learning more about their industry. It would also be suited to new entrants or potential new entrants to the industry who have no farming background.

    This is self-paced course which may take up to two hours to complete in one sitting; however users can complete it at their own pace, revisiting sections as and when required. Do read the instructions on navigation carefully, as this will help you to find your way around and not miss anything interesting.

    1 BASIS and 1 NRoSO points

    Recommended web browsers are Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Beating the black-grass threat to yield and profit is a two module course designed to help you make rotational and agronomic changes to combat black-grass, whilst balancing profitability.  Upon completion of this course you will have an increased understanding of:

  • The benefits and constraints of the control options for black-grass
  •  How control strategies can be used together to improve overall control
  • How rotational and agronomic changes can affect profitability on your farm

2 BASIS points and 1 NRoSO point for each module.

  • Module 1: Principles of control: This module examines the research data on black-grass management to help raise awareness of the control options available and their benefits and constraints.  At the end of the module is a short test to help consolidate what you have learned.

  • Module 2: Maintaining Profitability: In this module, you will explore the experiences of two growers whose techniques have helped them to achieve high levels of control on their farms, and learn how to use NIAB TAG’s innovative, new black-grass management tool. On completion of the course you will have access to the tool and be able to model the effects of rotational changes on the seed bank and the impact on the gross margin on your farm. 

  • Video introduction of the black-grass management tool  

Devised by: Ron Stobart

Maximising the benefits of cover crops in arable rotations is a three module course offering guidance to improve effectiveness of your cover cropping strategies. The course will provide advice on the skills required to deploy cover crops on-farm using the best agronomic strategies. Upon completion of the course you will be better equipped to:

  • Understand how cover crops deliver benefits to soils, crop management and the environment
  • Choose the right cover crop
  • Improve the effectiveness of cover cropping strategies
6 BASIS points and 3 NRoSO points available upon completion of all modules of the course
  • Module 1 - Understanding cover crops in arable systems (1 hour):  This module is a combination of videos, PowerPoint presentation and case studies from farmers involved in the Kellogg’s Origins programme and presents the current research understanding in cover cropping approaches.  

  • Module 2 - Choosing a cover crop (30 mins):  This module leads participants through the reasons why a farmer would want to grow a cover crop and emphasises the importance of knowing what the principle objective is before deciding what crop to choose for their farming situation. 

  • Module 3 - Growing a cover crop (1 hour): This is a series of interactive sessions that lead participants through the main agronomic issues that must be considered when growing different species of cover crops. The final element of the module teaches participants the general principles of developing mixtures and the essential agronomic considerations.

  • Quiz: At the end of each module there is short test.  Score 100% in module 1 and 80% in module 2 in order to start module 3.  After completing module 3 you will be awarded CPD points.  

Devised by: Bill Clark

At the end of this course participants will understand how to:

  • Recognise common wheat diseases
  • Identify some of the more unusual wheat diseases
  • Distinguish between the symptoms of disease and physiological disorders
Disease identification is the first step in successful disease control, but there are many pitfalls. Diseases may be confused with disorders and symptoms often vary depending on the prevailing weather. This course provides a platform to fine-tune and further develop your skills in disease identification in wheat. Devised by Bill Clark the course is based on a series of interactive quizzes and focuses on the key identification symptoms for over 20 key diseases of wheat.
6 BASIS points and 6 NRoSO points are available upon completion of all three levels of the course.
  • Level 1: Wheat disease identification (1 hour self paced) 

  • Level 2: Wheat disease identification (1 hour self paced)

  • Level 3: Wheat disease identification (1 hour self paced)

Upcoming courses

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