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English Wheat Yield Down 14%

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English Wheat Yield Down 14%

English Wheat Yield Down 14%
June 16
12:00 2011

A National Farmers Union survey has suggested that average English wheat and oilseed rape yields will be significantly down on the five-year average. NFU members were surveyed across England and Wales during May and early June. The results showed that the wheat and oilseed rape yield was likely to be significantly down on the five year average.

With very poor growing conditions in eastern parts, the NFU responses suggest the average English wheat yield in 2011 will be down by 14% on 2010 to around 6.5 tonnes per hectare (ha), which would rank among the lowest since the late 1980s.

On a similar planting area to last year, English wheat production is therefore likely to be considerably lower due to some severe drought pressure on crops this spring. Production could be down on the five year average by around two million tonnes to below 12 million tonnes or 15% below the five year average of 13.738mt.

Winter oilseed rape appears to be in a slightly stronger position, with farmers forecasting English yields at 3.1t/ha, 9% down on the five year average of 3.4t/ha. Plantings are believed to be significantly up on the five year average, at 655k/ha in 2011, indicating a potential total production of 2.028mt against the five year average of 1.762mt in England.

“I believe this year’s forecast yield decrease was largely due to poor growing conditions since winter. With the East of England experiencing its lowest rainfall for the first half of the year in over 100 years, farmers are clearly concerned about the impact on the ground of this abnormally dry spring,” comments Ian Backhouse, chairman of the NFU Combinable Crops Board. “There is a vast range of tonnage prices and with the recent rainfall we fear the damage has already been done.”

Responses have pointed to large variability in potential yields, often linked to almost complete lack of rainfall as well as soil type and capacity to hold water. Indications also suggest that other cereal crops will be similarly affected, particularly spring-sown crops such as spring barley and spring wheat.

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