Corn Gromwell

Growing the crop & wildlife conservation

We sow in late spring

We apply nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, magnesium and sulphur fertiliser in the spring

Weed control:
There are fewer herbicides approved for corn gromwell than for commoner crops like barley. So, we start our weed control with a sterile seed bed. This involves  preparing a seedbed well before the drilling date. This gives us the opportunity to kill the first flush of weeds before the crop appears

Insect pest & control:
We have had no significant problems with insect pests though aphids can affect the crop

Disease control:
Any plant diseases are controlled using fungicides

Threats to the crop:

  • Drought is a major threat on our sandy soils
  • Some fields have weeds which are hard to control with the few herbicides that are available for corn gromwell
  • Heavy rain or hail at harvest

What helps:

  • A warm spring helps get the crop established quickly
  • Spring and summer rainfall can increase yield
  • Dry weather in August helps with harvest

Wildlife conservation:

  • Corn gromwell has been exceptionally good for wintering stock doves. A flock of 790 was recorded on our corn gromwell stubble in November 2015. Good numbers were regularly seen on the field throughout the winter. From 2010-14 the largest flock recorded in the Norfolk Bird Reports was 229
  • The stubble also seems to be good for skylark and linnet
  • The field had a period in late spring when most of the farm’s breeding lapwing were using the field for feeding. We do not know what the birds were finding

Harvest & what the crop is used for

We harvest corn gromwell with a combine in mid-August

Caring for the crop:
After combining, it goes into our grain store where it is dried and cooled. This prevents the build-up of fungi and insects in the stored grain

What it is used for:
The oil in corn gromwell is extracted and used as a dietary supplement. It is marketed as Ahiflower® Oil and is rich in the omega-3 fatty acid stearidonic acid (SDA) and contains other essential fatty acid components. Vertese® is one of the brands sold in the UK

There are no on-farm by-products

Corn gromwell field
Corn gromwell field
Corn gromwell with brown seeds starting to show (just below the centre of the picture)
Corn gromwell with brown seeds starting to show (just below the centre of the picture)