The total area of cereals and oilseeds for harvesting this year is estimated to be down by 2% on 2014 at 3.72m hectare, according to the annual AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds planting and variety survey.
Key survey findings for individual crops show the GB wheat area down 3% on the year and oilseed rape down 7%. The total barley area, however, is up 3% with oats up 1%.
“The lower area planted to oilseed rape and the major cereals this year reflects evolving cropping patterns throughout Great Britain,” said AHDB market analyst, Anna Lockwood, adding that the changes were likely to be in response to developing economic and agronomic trends.
Dealing specifically with the increase in the GB barley area, which is estimated at 1.09m ha, the survey shows winter crops up by 4% and spring by 2%. There are big area variations, however, with Scotland’s estimated barley area down by 6% from last year while the English area rises by 51,000 ha.
In addition, for winter barley in England, the area estimated for harvest 2015 is the largest that has been seen since 2003, with the biggest increases in the Eastern (13%), and East Midlands (11%) regions.
“This larger area is expected to be driven by the rise of high yielding feed varieties,” said AHDB, “enabling the crop to compete for a position in the rotation. Early entry for the following oilseed rape crop may also be an incentive for more winter barley to be grown.”
Further survey analysis is due to be published on Thursday, July 9, on www.cereals.ahdb.org.uk/markets