Early GB planting intentions for harvest 2017 suggest that net spring barley area is expected to hit the second highest level in the last 20 years at 799Kha (1.997 million acres), 17 per cent up on harvest 2016 but behind 2013, which was driven by poor conditions in the previous autumn.
The prediction comes from AHDB’s Early Bird Survey which also suggests oilseed rape (OSR) area will fall for the fifth consecutive year.
At 557Kha (1.392 million acres), if realised, this would be the lowest area planted to OSR in the UK since 2004 – 554Kha (1.385m acres) and is forecast four per cent lower than this season - 579Kha (1.447m acres).
However, regional differences in area planted to OSR are expected for next year’s crop. The east of the country is expected to see a dramatic decrease in area planted of 28 per cent. This is due to cabbage stem flea beetle damage and a lack of moisture which made establishment difficult, according to AHDB.
However, in other areas of the country, such as the Midlands, south of England and Scotland, the net area sown to OSR is expected to increase, it said.
This is likely to be driven by the rise in OSR prices, making it an attractive break crop in areas of the country where growing conditions are good, according to AHDB.
The Early Bird Survey results are also pointing towards a slight reduction in the UK wheat area of one per cent on the year to 1.8m ha (4.5m acres) and four per cent lower than the previous five-year (2012-2016) average, said AHDB.
The area planted with winter barley is expected to fall by nine per cent year on year to 397Kha (992,500 acres), according to the survey.