Winter cropping area up 14%
A new survey from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) shows a rebound in winter cropping in England and Wales for harvest 2014.
A total of 2.976M ha was planted to wheat, winter barley, oats and oilseed rape by 1st December 2013 – 14% more than the total area of these crops harvested in 2013.
Facilitated by favourable weather conditions last autumn, wheat plantings by 1st December in England and Wales are estimated at 1.815M ha, up 19% from the total area harvested in 2013, even before any late winter or spring wheat plantings.
Winter barley area is estimated to be 41% higher at 0.369M ha, and oilseed rape plantings also remain strong in England and Wales with an estimated 0.703M ha planted by 1st December (a 3% increase over 2013).
AHDB senior analyst, Helen Plant, says: “The higher wheat area increases the likelihood of the UK being able to return to being a net exporter of wheat in 2014/15.”
She adds: “It seems likely that winter barley plantings have benefited from farmers looking to widen the harvest window and spread the workload.
“In some areas, extending the rotation as well as supporting the establishment of subsequent oilseed rape crops, may also have been a motivation.”