Linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping in plants detects and locates quantitative trait loci (QTL) by the strength of the correlation between a trait and a marker. It offers greater precision in QTL location than family-based linkage analysis and should therefore lead to more efficient marker-assisted selection, facilitate gene discovery and help to meet the challenge of connecting sequence diversity with heritable phenotypic differences. Unlike family-based linkage analysis, LD mapping does not require family or pedigree information and can be applied to a range of experimental and non-experimental populations. However, care must be taken during analysis to control for the increased rate of false positive results arising from population structure and variety interrelationships. In this review, we discuss how suitable the recently developed alternative methods of LD mapping are for crops.