Extreme weather sees large swing to spring cropping

The 2020 harvest area for oilseed rape is the lowest recorded in England since 2002, the survey says
The 2020 harvest area for oilseed rape is the lowest recorded in England since 2002, the survey says

This season's extreme and challenging weather has resulted in a large swing to spring cropping, a new planting survey by AHDB shows.

Wheat plantings have dropped 25 percent from 2019 to 1.363 million hectares in Britain, with much of this replaced by spring barley or oats.

Although there will be a plentiful supply of barley, for wheat there are concerns about both the lower planted area and the quality of the crop, as dry conditions in spring have not aided crop development.

Oilseed rape area has drastically reduced, continuing last year’s downwards trajectory, the 2020 AHDB Planting and Variety Survey shows.



Many growers this year have withdrawn the crop from rotation, with the wet autumn severely affecting both the ability to drill and crop establishment.

This, combined with ongoing pest pressure, has meant the 2020 harvest area for OSR is the lowest recorded in England since 2002.



Anthony Speight, AHDB analyst, said UK growers had faced 'many challenges' this season, including a very wet autumn followed by an extremely dry spring.

"However, it is critical to note going into the next marketing season that although we are going into a wheat deficit, our prices will be capped by the market as we reach import parity.

"Furthermore, barley export markets beyond Europe may be our only option after December, depending on the progress of Brexit negotiations," Mr Speight said.

Paul Temple, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds board chair, said that for most growers, this had been a season 'they would rather forget'.

"As they start planning for the first crops post Brexit, two things will be important, the market they choose to target and varieties that offer agronomic resilience.”

What are the key findings of the survey?

The Planting and Variety Survey provides the GB planted area estimates for the upcoming harvest:



• GB wheat area is estimated at 1.363 million hectares, a 25 per cent decrease from 2019

• GB spring barley area is estimated at 1.063 million hectares, up 52 per cent from 2019

• GB winter barley area is estimated at 296,000 hectares, a 34 per cent decrease from 2019

• Area of oilseed rape in England and Scotland is estimated at 387,000 hectares, down 26 per cent from 2019

• Area of oats in England and Scotland is estimated at 211,000 hectares, a 21 per cent increase from 2019

• Skyfall is the most popular wheat variety, with 10 per cent of area

• RGT-Planet is the most popular barley variety, accounting for 28 per cent of total area.

• The full AHDB Planting and Variety Survey results are available to download on the AHDB Survey Results page.