The oilseed rape area for harvest 2018 in England and Scotland has increased slightly compared with last year, according to AHDB’s 2018 Planting and Variety Survey.
The survey of 6,832 farms also showed a continued trend for declining GB wheat area, but an increase in the area of spring barley.
The key findings of the survey are:
Peter Collier, AHDB analyst, said: “The oilseed rape area, while showing a significant increase year on year, is still low in comparison to recent history. The increased area for 2018 is arguably a reflection on how poor planting conditions were for harvest 2017.
“The continued trend for a declining GB wheat area, combined with lower stocks and the current dry conditions could leave the 2018/19 domestic supply tight once more.”
Elgar, a variety recommended for the East and West regions in 2018, continues to represent the largest proportion of the oilseed rape area, rising to 14 per cent of the English and Scottish area. At 9 per cent, Campus accounts for the second highest area, followed by DK Extrovert, with 8 per cent.
At 1.74Mha, the 2018 GB wheat area is estimated 2 per cent lower than in 2017.
The largest wheat area reductions are in the Eastern region and the South East and London, where black-grass remains a key challenge. For harvest 2018, the declining wheat area in the Eastern region has seemingly been replaced by oilseed rape rather than spring barley, as in previous years.
In terms of varieties, nabim Group 1 and 2 varieties are estimated to account for 38 per cent of the 2018 GB wheat area, slightly down from 40 per cent in 2017. In 2018, the nabim Group 3 varieties account for 8 per cent of the GB wheat area, up from 5 per cent in 2017. Following the introduction of higher-yielding Group 3 varieties, such as KWS Barrel and Basset, which were added to the recommended list in 2016/17, there has been a notable increase in the 2018 Group 3 area, according to AHDB.
The nabim Group 4 area change is split between hard and soft. The Group 4 hard area for GB as a whole remains unchanged. Meanwhile, the Group 4 soft area has seen a 9 per cent reduction, mainly driven by a 27 per cent reduction in Scotland, seemingly replaced by the Group 3 wheats, says AHDB.
Overall the GB barley area in 2018 remains unchanged year on year. The GB winter barley area has undergone a significant reduction for harvest 2018.
At 385,000ha, the area reported is down 7 per cent from 2017, a reduction of 31,000ha year on year. In Scotland, the reduction in winter barley to 39,000ha will be the lowest area this millennium, according to the survey.
At 768,000ha, the GB spring barley area is estimated to be 4 per cent higher than in 2017, the fourth year in a row that the spring barley area has expanded. The increase is primarily driven by an area expansion in Scotland, the North West and Yorkshire. This suggests that spring barley was a necessary planting decision in areas unable to plant winter cropping options for 2018, combined with a lower cost of production than winter barley, according to AHDB.
Overall, malting barley varieties with full approval from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling for harvest 2018 account for 57 per cent of the total GB barley area. This is up from 2017, when malting barley varieties accounted for 50 per cent of GB area. However, the figures only include varieties with full approval. Due in part to the full approval of Laureate for 2018, the area suitable for maltsters may not have risen by the same extent, says AHDB.
At a combined 156,000ha, the total oat area across England and Scotland is up 2 per cent from 2017. At 32,000ha, the Scottish area represents a 1 per cent decline from 2017, driven by a decline in winter oats, which is not fully compensated by a rise in spring oats. The English area at 124,000ha is a 3 per cent increase from 2017, driven predominantly by a 4,000ha rise in the South West, according to the survey.