Spring barley and oats have seen particularly significant falls in yield compared with last year, according to the latest provisional Defra Farming Statistics.
Winter and spring barley both saw decreased levels of production in 2018. A 7.7% drop in the production of spring barley in 2018 to 3.9 million tonnes, in spite of a small 1.1% increase in the area, was caused by an 8.7% fall in the spring barley yield from 5.6t/ha (2017) to 5.1t/ha in harvest 2018.
Winter barley production dropped by 8% to 2.7mt in 2018; this is mostly explained by a fall in the winter barley area of 6.7% to 394,000ha, as well as a slightly lower yield of 6.9t/ha in 2018 compared to 7t/ha in 2017, according to Defra statistics.
The planted area of oats (not differentiated by spring or winter in the statistics) had the largest proportional increase of the major cereal crops, rising by 7.8% to 174,000ha. But the UK yield fell by 9.2% to 4.9t/ha, caused by a decrease in the England yield of 11.6% which was offset by smaller falls in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This resulted in a small estimated production decrease of 2.1% to 0.9mt in 2018, according to the statistics.
The UK provisional oilseed rape harvest has fallen 5.3% to 2.1mt in 2018. There was an increase of 6.8% in the planted area, however, yield was 11.4% down on last year, from 3.9t/ha to 3.4t/ha.
A 5.3% fall in UK wheat yield from 8.3t/ha (2017) to 7.8t/ha (2018) and minimal change in area resulted in a 5.1% drop in production, from 14.8mt in 2017 to 14.1mt in 2018.
The Defra Farming Statistics report says 2018 harvest has been affected by high rainfall in spring and a long dry spell with high temperatures in the summer causing varying yields across regions of the UK.