NEWS: ARTIS launches free course on growing and managing cover crops

23 Feb 2015

A free online course on the selection and management of cover crops is now available from ARTIS, NIAB TAG’s training platform.

Understanding Cover Crops, available at, will help participants choose the right cover crop and provide guidance to improve the effectiveness of their cover cropping strategies. The course includes video and audio input from NIAB TAG’s farming systems specialist Ron Stobart and farmers working with cover crops and involved in the Kellogg’s Origins programme.

ARTIS programme manager Dr Juno McKee says: “Cover crops can count towards CAP greening measures so there is significant interest in the subject, particularly in how to make a return on investment. The benefits of cover crops include increased soil organic matter and soil biodiversity, protecting the soil surface from rainfall erosion, reducing nitrate leaching, improved soil structure and benefits to wildlife and the environment – all covered within the course.”

Dr McKee explains that there are three training modules, each with a short interactive quiz. “Our first module outlines the benefits of cover crops to farming systems, including access to our tool-box – a collation of research outputs, publications and advice from various national and international sources including NIAB TAG. Modules 2 and 3 will be launched over the next few months and include cover crop selection, bi-cropping and options for mixes, depending on final end use.”

Devised by Mr Stobart, and sponsored by Kellogg’s, the course is the second in a series of multimedia e-learning courses being developed by ARTIS, suitable for smartphone, tablet and computer users. Currently free for growers, farm managers, agronomists and students 5 BASIS and 2 NRoSO points are available to learners who achieve 100% across all three modules.

ARTIS e-learning courses cover crop husbandry, technologies and regulatory or economic issues that impact on crop production. Learners will gain access to specialist courses, practical recommendations and a wealth of expertise. These resources are not intended as an alternative to face-to-face teaching, but as complementary tools to help build on what has been learnt on the field and classroom courses run by ARTIS.

Users can also still access the free ‘Wheat Disease Identification’ course which includes a series of interactive image-led quizzes. Split over three levels it includes useful diagnostic information allowing users to fine-tune and further develop their skill, with up to 8 BASIS points available on completion.

Go to to find out more and register for e-learning or field and classroom courses.