The total area of cereals andoilseeds for harvest 2015 in Great Britain is estimated at 3.72Mha, down 2%from 2014, according to the annual AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Planting andVariety survey.
Anna Lockwood, AHDB Market Analyst,said: A lower area planted to oilseed rape and the major cereals this yearreflects evolving cropping patterns throughout Great Britain. Changes arelikely to be in response to developing economic and agronomic trends.
Key findings of the survey are:
Total GB cereals and oilseed rapearea at 3.72Mha, down 2% from 2014
Total wheat area for GB estimatedat 1.87Mha, down 3% from 2014
Total barley area up by 3% to1.09Mha, including a 4% increase for the winter barley area
GB oilseed rape area down 7% from2014 at 627,000ha
GB oat area remains fairly stableat 137,000ha, up 1% from 2014
GB wheatarea estimated at 1.87Mha down 3%
At 1.87Mha, the GB wheat areaestimate is 3% lower than the area for 2014. The wheat area in England isestimated at 1.74Mha, down 4% compared to last year, while in contrast, thearea of wheat in Scotland has increased by 3,000ha since 2014. The higherScottish wheat area partially offsets a decrease in barley area, which may wellhave occurred as a result of the three crop requirements under the reformedCommon Agricultural Policy (CAP).
At a regional level, the area plantedto wheat in the South East has dropped by a fairly notable 18,000ha (8%) sincelast year to an estimated 219,000ha, with marked declines across the easternregions of England. Cultural control of black-grass, through the use of springcropping, as well as implications of the three crop rule could be particular driversof the declines in the wheat area.
Looking at wheat varieties, the levelof nabim Group 1 wheat varieties grown in GB is down by only 1,000ha from 2014.However, the area attributed to Group 1 varieties this year is 107,000ha higherthan the area seen in 2013.
New higher yielding varieties such asSkyfall, as well as higher milling wheat premiums, were expected to cease thedecline in the Group 1 share of the wheat area this year. However, a biggershift could well be seen for harvest 2016 due to the availability of additionalbread milling varieties that may challenge group 4 yields, and entice growersback to Group 1s and 2s.
The proportion of group 4 varietieshas continued to increase this year, a trend that has been seen for severalyears now, said Miss Lockwood.
Group 4 varieties are estimated toaccount for 63% of the GB wheat area, up from 58% in 2014, largely at theexpense of Group 3s.
Totalbarley area estimated at 1.09Mha up 3% on 2014
The overall estimated barley area inGB is 1.09Mha, 3% higher than in 2014, with increases for both winter andspring barley, of 4% and 2% respectively.
In Scotland the estimated totalbarley area is 309,000ha, down 6% from last year with declines for both winterand spring crops. At 258,000ha, the Scottish spring barley area would be thelowest since 2010, with the area swing possibly a consequence of the CAP threecrop requirements.
In England, the estimated totalbarley area for harvest 2015 is 51,000ha higher than 2014. Regionally, thelargest increases for spring barley have been seen in the Eastern, EastMidlands and South East regions, likely to have been driven by efforts tocontrol black-grass with spring cropping.
For winter barley, the area estimatedfor harvest 2015 is the largest that has been seen since 2003, with the biggestincreases in the Eastern (13%), and East Midlands (11%) regions. The largerarea is expected to be driven by the rise of high yielding feed varieties,enabling the crop to compete for a position in the rotation. Also the earlyentry for the following oilseed rape crop may also be an incentive for morewinter barley to be grown.
Overall, malting varieties on the Institute of Brewing and Distilling approved list for harvest 2015account for 58% of the total GB barley area. On a regional level the maltingand feed splits remain largely comparable to last year. It is important toremember that the final malting availability will be strongly influenced by finalyields and quality.
Totaloilseed rape area falls by 7% since 2014
The survey indicates a 7% fall forthe estimated oilseed rape area in GB in comparison to last year. Thelargest area decreases have been seen for the Eastern and South East regions, withfalls of 16,000ha and 11,000ha, respectively. The drop in the area is likely tobe attributed to several factors including;
The restriction of the use ofneonicotinoid seed treatments, which deterred planting as well as causing somecrop failure
Low market prices against a backdrop of the increasing risks of growing the crop
Possible impacts of the three croprule for farms with intensive wheat and oilseed rape rotations.
In contrast, the estimated oilseedrape area in Scotland remains largely unchanged at 37,000ha (1% higher than in2014).
After being the most widely grownvariety for the last four years, DK-Cabernet now shares the top spot withIncentive, each accounting for an estimated 9% of the GB area according to thesurvey.