Early indications of plantings for harvest 2020 show that the oilseed rape area could be down by as much as 15 per cent, with some growers turning their back on the crop due to cabbage stem flea beetle and establishment difficulties.
Barry Barker, Agrii national arable seed manager, says: “Winter rape will definitely be down from what was initially planted last year [for harvest 2019]. We are looking at a 15 per cent drop to less than 500,000ha.”
The cereals area may creep up slightly to fill this area and winter bean plantings will be up on last year, says Mr Barker.
“People are trying beans instead, providing they are okay on seed. There are some issues to do with germination, dry seed and stem nematodes. Although winter beans might be up by quite a large percentage, [from a low base] the change in area will not be huge.”
The wheat area is likely to be similar to last year and may be slightly up depending on weather conditions between now and January and winter barley is also likely to account for a similar area to last year.
The four most popular winter wheat varieties are Skyfall, KWS Zyatt, Graham and Gleam says Mr Barker.
“A lot is to do with their agronomic characteristics. They are not at the top on yield except for Gleam.”
While growers hoping to get milling premiums are opting for Skyfall and KWS Zyatt, Graham is being chosen for its good septoria resistance and is a consistent yielding variety, says Mr Barker.
With hybrid varieties accounting for 20 per cent of the planted area of winter barley, he says there is little to choose between SY Kingsbarn and Bazooka in popularity terms.
“There has been an increase in Belfry on the basis of its good standing ability because of lodging in some winter barley crops.”
KWS Orwell has been the biggest conventional winter barley variety this year.
Favoured conventional OSR varieties include Campus and Aspire and of hybrid varieties, DK Imperial, DK Exalte, DK Expedient, DK Expansion and Limagrain’s Aurelia will occupy significant areas, he predicts.