Arable production has come under increasing economic and environmental pressures, especially in the last decade. These have derived from over-production, decreased farm incomes and a concern with the possible environmental effects of intensive pesticide use associated with such intensive cultivation. A number of long-term research programmes on integrated farming systems and their sustainability have recently been completed or are currently under way. In the UK, these include the ‘Boxworth’ project, ‘SCARAB’, TALISMAN’, RISC, ‘LINK Integrated Farming Systems’, ‘LIFE’ and the demonstration-only programme ‘LEAF’. These projects are reviewed in terms of their objectives, designs and results to date, and are compared with some parallel programmes in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.