English winter crop area lowest in three years

The AHDB Winter Planting Survey was released last week, showing total cereals and oilseed rape planted in England as of December 1 at 2.637 million hectares.

According to Arthur Marshall, Analyst with the AHDB this is the lowest in three years, and potentially leaves over 500,000ha for spring plantings.

He said the total winter crop area is relatively low historically, though in the past 16 years, there have been six where the area planted in England as of 1 December has been lower.

“This includes three years ago, when winter plantings were affected by poor autumn weather. However, this year the changes look to be driven by economic and agronomic factors as planting conditions were again generally favourable last autumn,” he said.

For spring cereals, especially barley, Marshall said this may point towards a potential second consecutive year of expansion, as previously suggested.

Spring barley was planted on 373,000ha in England last year, up from 346,000ha the year before.

“If the total area planted to cereals and oilseeds in England were to remain stable compared with last year, at 3.2 million ha, this could leave 565,000ha available for spring cereals/oilseeds this year – the third highest in the last 16 years,” he said.

The total cereal and oilseed area in England has not been lower than 3.2 million ha since 2010.

Wheat

The surplus of wheat in the UK available for either export or for free stock is up 38% on last year.

That’s according to the latest Defra UK supply and demand estimates published recently.

At 3.96Mt, the forecast is higher than previous estimates and means that exports are going to be key in avoiding a large carry over into 2016/17.

The increase in surplus stocks comes as the final wheat production number for 2015/16 published by Defra in December recorded an upward revision on the provisional figure of 273Kt to 16.44Mt.