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Wheat harvest down on five year average


Wheat production is down on the five year average according to results of a NFU members survey.

With cropping area up around six per cent and average yields showing a reduction, the survey results suggest English wheat production in 2010 will be around 13.5million tonnes. Despite increased plantings production this year is expected to be very similar to last year due to lower yields. With the figures showing that production will be down on the five year average by around 400,000 tonnes.

NFU combinable crops chairman Ian Backhouse thanked NFU members for completing the survey. He said: I believe this years yield decrease was largely due to poor growing conditions last spring, with the lowest rainfall for the first half of the year in 80 seasons.  Responses have pointed to a relatively large variability in yields often linked to soil type and capacity to hold water.  Towards the latter part of harvest, at the end of August and in September, there was more variability in quality where summer rains prevented farmers keeping up with ripening crops.  Much of the quality milling crop was harvested and dried before exposure to prolonged rainfall.

With a very dry spring and harvest disrupted by summer rains in 2010, farmers invested in grain drying to protect quality and overcame a challenging season.

Drying costs have again been significant, and farmers have invested millions in drying to preserve grain quality.  Quality is reported as good, with high protein levels and good specification achieved by wheat growers across the country.  Many are reporting crops weighing heavier and high bushel weights are partly compensating for lower volume harvested.

  1. Rain in July, August and part of September has led to harvest delays meaning some areas still have crops to harvest.
  2. Full yield results for wheat, barley and oilseed rape crops in the UK are still being gathered by NFU economics and will be made available after the results of UK Government planting surveys are published at the end of September. NFU Members are invited to add further data at
  3. Five year average for wheat plantings in England: 1,758m ha; yield 7.86 t/ha; production 13,861m tonnes [England 2005-2009 (Defra)

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