British arable area declines by 2%
The latest planting and variety survey, from AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, suggests a decline in the total cereal and oilseed rape area to 3.72Mha, down 2% compared to the previous year.
The areas of wheat and oilseed rape are estimated to have fallen while the total barley area is expected to increase.
The ADHB says that much of these changes have taken place in Eastern regions and Scotland in response to the control of blackgrass in wheat crops and to comply with the new three crop rule under CAP.
In addition, a ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments is suggested to have contributed to the oilseed rape area falling compared to 2014.
This survey suggests potentially lower supplies of wheat and greater availability of barley, but this of course depends on what final yields are achieved.
The ADHB says if British wheat yields match the highest GB average yield in the past five years, i.e. the 2014 average yield of 8.58 t/ha, total GB production would remain slightly above 16mt.
However it says this level has only been reached in two of the past 10 years – 2014 and 2008.
The ADHB says relatively high British barley production looks set to continue, with total barley production remaining above 6Mt even in a low yield scenario.
For spring barley specifically, it says a low yield equal to the average British yield in 2010 (5.22t/ha) would result in British production higher than in seven of the past 10 seasons.
The ADHB says a repeat of 2014 yields would deliver the highest British winter barley production since 2002.