Farmers in Devon are being urged to avoid growing crops that could increase the risk of flooding and pollution.

Some “high risk” crops can cause soil-erosion and muddy run-off if they are grown on unsuitable soils and slopes, the Environment Agency (EA) said. They include maize, fodder beet, potatoes, and other root vegetables.

The campaign targets parts of Devon with light and heavy soils.

They are vulnerable to extreme weather events and need careful management to prevent soil compaction and run-off, said the EA.

The agency advises farmers to choose appropriate crops, use cover crops, maintain buffer strips, and avoid overgrazing.

It also warned enforcement action could be taken if farmers failed to comply with the Farming Rules for Water, which were introduced in 2018.

James Wimpress, land management project manager for the Environment Agency in Devon and Cornwall, said: “We want to raise awareness of how devastating flooding is when exacerbated by the production of high-risk crops in unsuitable locations, so farmers can make more sustainable decisions in line with our changing climate.”

The campaign is supported by the National Farmers’ Union and the Maize Growers Association, said the EA.

Alex Stevens, NFU South regional policy manager, said: “Investing in and protecting soil health is crucial to the nation’s farming systems and is essential to food production.”