The lodging of cereal crops due to high wind and rain is of considerable significance in many parts of the world, leading to major economic losses and yield reductions. In earlier papers the authors have developed a model of the lodging of winter wheat that identified the major parameters of the problem and enabled the relationship between root and stem lodging to be examined. It has formed the basis of a methodology used in the UK for guidance to farmers and agronomists on ways of reducing lodging risk. However the authors would be the first to acknowledge that there are limitations to the model that make it difficult to apply for a wide range of crops – particularly in the specification of the wind field and the root/soil interaction, and in allowing for stem lodging elsewhere than at the base of the stem. This paper thus describes the development of a generalised model that overcomes these shortcomings. After a discussion of the lodging phenomenon in general and a description of the earlier work, the basis of the new model is set out, based upon a mechanical model of the wind/plant/soil interactions that capture most of the important physical processes. The manner in which this model can be applied to clarify the nature of the lodging process and calculate lodging risk through a simple graphical formulation is discussed. In particular simple formulae are defined for lodging risk that are functions of a small number of dimensionless variables with identified physical meanings. The model is then applied to the lodging of wheat, oat and oilseed rape crops and considers the sensitivity of the risk calculations to uncertainties in the model parameters. In general it is suggested that the risk of lodging can be determined from very simple functions of dimensionless stem and root lodging velocities.