Crop yield potential for the 2019 harvest has been calculated.
The AHDB Market Intelligence team visited key growing regions around the country in the first half of July, assessing grain sites per ear, number of ears per square metre and discussing general crop conditions and yield expectations.
In Fife, Scotland yield expectations for wheat are 8-8.5tonnes/hectare, curbed by rainfall during grain fill in mid-July reduced sunshine hours. Some varieties had been susceptible to yellow rust and septoria.
Barley crop yield potential ranges from 5.5t/ha for springs to 7.5t/ha for winters, as July rainfall brought lodging risk, but nothing the crops couldn’t withstand.
Oat crops in Scotland have been clean from most disease issues, yields of just under 6t/ha are expected.
On the Yorkshire Wolds, near Driffield yields are expected at, or slightly above, average at 9.5-10t/ha. Weather has been favourable, yet rainfall is needed with some wheat crops in grain fill stages showing signs of drought stress.
Oilseed rape crops have survived flea beetle damage but some were flattened by storms during flowering in May.
Flat crops may give variable harvest dates with modest yields from crops damaged by storms at 3.2-3.4t/ha, standing crops yields are estimated at 3.5-3.7t/ha.
Near Dereham, Norfolk septoria slightly curbed the yield potential, lowering wheat yields to around 9.5t/ha.
Although additional spring rainfall would have been beneficial, winter barley yields range from 7.5t/ha to over 9t/ha on heavier lands.
The oilseed rape prospects are looking good. Yields could reach over 4t/ha and growers intend to keep oilseed rape in rotations following minimal pest pressure.
In the Winchester area winter wheat yield expectations are high at 11t/ha as the season was relatively kind with low disease risk and effective weed control.
Spring barley suffered more with grass-weeds, due to an earlier planting date to normal but yield expectations are still decent with some fields heading towards 8t/ha.
Oilseed rape yield expectations are variable. Poor establishment due to dryness coupled with cabbage stem flea beetle damage have both contributed to this.
Wheat crops in the Colchester area are encouraging, the drier winter and spring proved favourable on heavy land and June rainfall further improved yield prospects.
Disease risk was mitigated by fortunate flowering timing and fungicide sprays.
The barley expectation is for high yields compared to last year’s drought stricken crop. Favourable spring conditions allowed timely drilling of Laureate.
For a break crop, oilseed rape is removed from the rotation, choosing beans instead, which were looking fantastic.
Whilst grain yields are highly favourable compared to last year, disease pressures and periods of overly wet weather have reduced the chances of truly barn-busting crops.
Analyst Peter Collier says: “We have seen areas of yellow rust and septoria that have reduced yield potential in some regions, but on the whole wheat yield potential is slightly above average.
"Oilseed rape crop yields are highly variable, but as most of the disastrous crops have either been whole-cropped or mown, the end-yield could be higher than most expect, he says.
“The real uncertainty is harvested area.
"Our last estimate of planted area of 514,000ha for England and Scotland could be on the high side if we see areas not being combined. Regardless, the story for oilseed rape this year is a significant domestic deficit.”