The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) released the results of its spring planting and variety survey yesterday, July 8.

Irish growers will no doubt be interested to see how areas have changed from last season to see what may be affecting markets here.

The survey shows that wheat area declined, along with winter barley, while spring barley area increased dramatically.


The wheat area in Great Britain was estimated at 1,363,000ha for 2020. That’s a decrease of 25% on the 2019 area. The survey also showed that the wheat area decreased across all regions in Great Britain.

The wheat area in the East Midlands dropped by 32%. The area planted to wheat in Yorkshire and the Humber also declined by 32%.

10% of the wheat area was planted to Skyfall, the most popular variety of the season.


Winter barley area also decreased from 2019. The crop isn’t as popular in Great Britain as it has become in Ireland in recent years. Winter barley area in Great Britain was estimated to have declined by 34% from 2019 to 296,000ha.

The East Midlands saw winter barley area decline by 52%, while Yorkshire and Humber saw a 37% decline in the winter barley area.

Following the wet autumn and winter period it will come as no surprise that spring barley area increased dramatically.

In fact, spring barley area increased by a massive 52% from 2019, hitting 1,063,000ha. RGT Planet was the most popular barley variety planted. It took up 28% of the total area.

Malting barley

According to the report, 74% of the total area of barley planted in Great Britain is planted to malting varieties. This figure stood at 56% in 2019.

As stated above, RGT Planet accounts for 28% of the barley area, while Laureate accounts for 25% of the area. The two varieties account for 53% of the total barley area this season. In 2019, the two varieties were planted to 36% of the total area of barley.

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape area was also estimated to have decreased from 2019. The oilseed rape area in England and Scotland is estimated to have decreased by 26% to 387,000ha.

In England the area is down 28% from 2019. This is the lowest recorded area on record in England since 2002 according to the AHDB.

The AHDB attributed the decrease in oilseed rape area to excessive rain in the autumn and the threat of damage to the crop caused by the cabbage stem flea beetle.


The oats area in England and Scotland increased by 21% from 2019. The oats area in these regions was estimated at 211,000ha.

All areas, apart from Scotland, saw an increase in the area of oats planted. Oats area declined by 2% in Scotland.

Background details to the survey

The survey had a total of 1,042 responses and the data was collected throughout May and June in 2020.

Growers were asked to submit the intended harvest area for the different crops, as well as stating the area harvested in 2019.

The survey was carried by the AHDB, Defra, the Scottish government and the Welsh government.