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Mixed UK harvest highlights need for volatility measures

The request came on the back of the NFU’s harvest survey which found wheat, winter barley and spring barley yields all dropped below their five-year average. 


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Mixed harvest highlights need for volatility measures

Extreme weather patterns and unpredictable harvest prices have prompted a call for measures to be implemented to manage volatility.

 

The request came on the back of the NFU’s harvest survey which found wheat, winter barley and spring barley yields all dropped below their five-year average, falling six per cent, two per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

 

Spring barley hit its lowest yield since 2012 at 5.2 tonnes per hectare compared to 5.8t/ha, with wheat yields also at their lowest since 2013 at 7.7t/ha.


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Winter barley was recorded at 6.8t/h, while oilseed rape was the only crop to fall slightly above its five-year average at 3.6t/ha.

 

NFU combinable crops chairman Tom Bradshaw said a disruption in the usual favourable soil and climate conditions had caused ‘incredible’ crop variation and unpredictable yields, pushing for a call on the Government to help build resilience in the industry.

 

It followed Defra’s commitment to make payments, loans or guarantees to farmers suffering because of ‘exceptionally’ low prices under the terms of the Agriculture Bill – including extreme weather events.

 

Volatility

Mr Bradshaw said: “With Brexit, the volatility of world commodity markets and the weather, farmers will be turning to the Government for ways to build financial resilience into their businesses as farm payments are phased out.

 

“It is essential that a new domestic agricultural policy is supportive of resilience in the face of short-term localised shocks while driving long-term competitiveness.”

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