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Plantings up - but doubts over harvest yields
STRONG GB forward prices and good planting conditions in England has seen a three per cent increase in GB plantings for harvest 2012.
However, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said the wet weather had cast doubts over final yields.
The AHDB/Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) 2012 planting survey shows the total GB area for wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape is 3.834m hectares – similar to 2008. The increase is at the expense of crops such as pulses.
Jack Watts, AHDB HGCA senior analyst, said: “Strong GB forward prices at planting time, combined with good planting conditions in England are most likely to be behind the increase in planted area.
“However, weather for developing crops has been poor over recent weeks, with low sunshine levels and high rainfall during the critical grain filling period. As a result, uncertainty remains around yields.
“This is particularly true for oilseed rape, which has seen record GB planting levels which may not translate into record production.”
The AHDB HGCA variety survey – carried out at the same time – found 17 per cent of the GB wheat area was planted to nabim Group 1 varieties; nine per cent to Group 2; 21 per cent to Group 3 and 52 per cent to Group 4.
For barley, 67 per cent of the GB area is estimated to be down to malting varieties.
In oilseed rape, DKCabernet and Excalibur were the most popular varieties, accounting for 21 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
The GB wheat area is estimated to be 2.002m ha, the highest level since 2008.
Wheat has increased in all England regions apart from the North-West and East Midlands.
In Scotland, wet autumn conditions are blamed for wheat plantings of 108,000 ha – the lowest since 2009.
GB oilseed rape plantings total 736,000 hectares, five per cent up on last year’s record.
Strong global oilseed prices have made it increasingly competitive against other break crops and cereals.
However, the poor weather may hit yields.
The GB barley area is five per cent up on 2011 at 986,000ha but below the 1m ha mark that was common place pre-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.
The GB winter barley area at 368,000ha is historically low. The 44,000ha in Scotland is a record low due to difficult autumn planting conditions.
In England, the North- East was one of four regions which saw an increase in winter barley plantings due to attractive malting premiums, relatively strong feed barley prices against feed wheat, a desire for more home-produced feed/animal bedding and the attraction of a wider harvest window.
The GB spring barley area for harvest 2012 is 618,00ha – the highest since 2009 – mainly due to a 16 per cent increase to a record 301,000ha in Scotland, which now accounts for 49 per cent of the GB crop.
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