Niche Crops

There are many niche break crops which can bring benefits, including financial gain, to a crop rotation.

Introducing a break crop can help spread market risk and can offer benefits in terms of disease and weed control, nutrient supply, water use efficiency and improving soil health and biology.

Our growing selection of niche crops which are making a resurgence are backed by our team’s expert knowledge and include Naked Barley, Naked Oats, Spelt, Rye and Einkorn.

We market conventional seeds and organic seeds which have been bred by world leading plant breeders and are extensively field tested.

Niche Crops

Naked Barley


We are pleased to introduce to you PIRONA Naked Barley, a variety bred by esteemed German Plant Breeder Karl Joseph Muller.

What is Naked Barley?

It is barley that when harvested, the grains thrash freely from the hulls. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.

Barley with its hull is indigestible to humans and therefore has to be pearled. Naked Barley does not require this.

Background to Naked Barley

It is believed Naked Barley originated in Iran and quickly spread throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa and was probably the most important cereal crop of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. However following the introduction of milling wheats during the Iron Age, barley was no longer of interest and used only in animal feed, and as such, the lower yielding naked types were no longer of interest.

Benefits of Naked Barley

Shown to Reduce Blood Cholesterol Levels – This is due to its rich source of complex carbohydrates, especially beta-glucan soluble fibres which are also found in oats.

Helps to Reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes – Barley starch is broken down to release sugar into the blood over a longer period of time, preventing spikes of blood sugar insulin

Low Glycemic Index – Naked barley is shown to have a low glycemic index and even lower than pearled barley, which cannot be classed as wholegrain

Sustainable Crop – When grown conventionally, Naked Barley requires far less inputs than wheat and is suitable for growing in adverse conditions

How Can Naked Barley be Used?

  • Barley Flour for bread, pastry, pasta, cakes & biscuits
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Malt
  • Soft Drinks
  • Thickening agent for cooking


Both organic and conventional naked barley is available to offer. We can offer Naked Barley Seed in 500kg bags as well as Naked Barley Grain in 25kg or 500kg bags. Please email for further information or to place your order.

Naked Oats


Patrick spring naked oat is an interesting newcomer to the sector of ‘Naked Oats’. The grain of naked oats threshes free from the husk. Although naked oat varieties produce less yield than the conventional husked types, the naked grain has considerable nutritional benefits. They produce higher oil and nutrient content. To avoid quality loss (eg: Rancidity), naked oats must be dried immediately after harvest to at least 14% moisture content. For longer-term storage, a moisture level of 12% is required.

Patrick Naked Oats are extremely competitive and have a growth habit that would suit low-intensity farming. Naked grain is highly sought after by the pig, poultry and horse feed industry.

Seed will be available for Spring, but orders must be placed early to avoid disappointment as supply is limited.

WANTED: Growers of Naked Oats

PREMIUM: Min £30 p/t over AHDB Feed Wheat
(Subject to meeting contract specification)

Email: info@copeseeds.co.uk if you are interested

Excellent buyback contracts are available to anyone purchasing Oliver and Patrick Naked Oats. Minimum value of £30 per tonne over Feed Wheat. If you would like to know more about our Naked Oat Buy Back Contract, please email info@copeseeds.co.uk.



Rye grain is proving to be extremely popular among food and health lovers across the UK. It can be used for a multitude of things including flour, rye bread, rye beer, crisp bread, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and as animal feed. It can also be eaten whole, either as boiled rye berries or by being rolled, similar to rolled oats.

Rye grows well in much poorer soils than those necessary for most cereal grains. Thus, it is an especially valuable crop in regions where the soil has sand or peat. Rye plants withstand cold better than other small grains do. Organic Rye Seed and Rye Grains are available in 25kg or 500kg bag sizes.



Spelt is a species of wheat cultivated since approximately 5000 BC and was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food gaining widespread popularity as a wheat substitute for making artisan breads, pasta and cereals.

Organic Spelt Seed is available in 500kg bags

Spelt Grain (De-hulled) is available in 25kg and 500kg bags