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    Winter cropping area in England and Wales rises by 14%

    NewsThursday 06 March 2014
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    According to the latest AHDB/HGCA Winter Planting Survey, winter cropping in England and Wales for the harvest of 2014 has risen 14% on 2013.
     
    This means that a total of 2.976 million ha of wheat, winter barley, oats and oilseed rape was planted by the 1st December 2013. This amounts to 14% more than the total area of those crops harvested in 2013. 
     
    The reason for this, according to the NFU, is the favourable weather conditions that we had last autumn, which is a stark contrast to the conditions during the winter planting window for the harvest of 2013. 
     
    “The higher wheat area increases the likelihood of the UK being able to return to being a net exporter of wheat in 2014/15.” said AHDB Senior Analyst Helen Plant.
     
    “However, weather conditions during the rest of the growing season will be important in determining the quality and yields, and thus the UK’s export potential next marketing season.
     
    “The expectation of a larger wheat crop is reflected in new crop pricing, with the November 2014 UK feed wheat futures prices trading at an increased discount to the equivalent Paris milling futures contract. The wheat area is also expected to remain high across Europe and with limited crop issues so far, the UK may face strong competition in export markets.
     
    “It seems likely that winter barley plantings have benefited from farmers looking to widen the harvest window and spread the workload. In some areas, extending the rotation as well as supporting the establishment of subsequent oilseed rape crops, may also have been a motivation.”
     
    After the England and Wales oat area hit a 36 year high in 2013, a decline for harvest 2014 has been largely expected due to lower prices for crops not grown on contract. The current estimate does not actually include spring oats, however, the large area planted to all winter crops may end up limiting the area available for spring planting in England and Wales. 
     
    The extreme 2012 and 2013 seasons have continued to impact some growers due to the rotational implications of cropping patterns. 
     
    Full analysis of the England and Wales planting results, plus data from the Scottish Government, will be published in a Prospects article on the HGCA website on 25 March.
     
    The survey measures autumn crop planting up to 1 December 2013, is based on 2,771 responses from a representative sample of farm businesses.
     
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