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Harvest Views Polled


The results from a poll of farmers, conducted by the National Farm Research Unit (NFRU), indicate that more farmers (30%) interviewed thought that their Oilseed Rape yielded higher than the previous year, but fewer farmers thought that their Wheat or Barley had yielded more. Just 19% of Wheat farmers interviewed reported that their crop had yielded more than last year, whilst 22% of Winter Barley growers said their yields were higher and just 18% of Spring Barley growers said their yields were more.

As the 2010 harvesting period comes to a close, The National Farm Research Unit asked around five hundred farmers if yields for their major arable crops – Winter Wheat, Winter Barley, Spring Barley and Winter Oilseed Rape – were higher or lower than they were in 2009. The crop which appeared to be performing better was Winter Oilseed Rape, with just under one-third of farmers saying that their yields were higher than last year and 24% saying that yields were the same as last year. This result is supported by TAG NIAB harvest reports in which the average national yield of rape was said to be around 3.7 t/ha this year, higher than the five-year average of 3.3 t/ha.

The NFRU Poll indicated considerable regional variation with regard to Oilseed Rape however, with the East Midlands (42% of farmers), the West Midlands Region (42% of farmers), Wales (33%) and the South West (32%) reporting higher rape yields than last year, whilst just 26% of farmers in the Eastern Region, 23% in Yorkshire and Humberside, 20% in Scotland and 19% in the North East saying that their yields were higher, says Jim Williams of the NFRU.

Winter Wheat

Winter Barley

Winter Oilseed Rape

Spring Barley

% farmers who said their yields were higher than last year





% farmers who said their yields were lower than last year





% farmers who said that their yields were the same as last year





Jim Williams points out many more farmers reported that Winter Wheat yields were lower this year than last year (30%), with 22% saying their wheat yields were the same and just 19% saying yields were higher. Regions where more farmers said their wheat yields were higher than last year, according to the poll, included the North West (45% of farmers), Wales (29%), the South West (26%), the North East (25%) and the East Midlands (24%).

Regions reporting wheat yields lower than last year included the Eastern Region, Yorkshire and Humberside and the West Midlands. HGCA and ADAS as well as the NFU report that Winter Wheat yields were more variable than normal – which the NFRU poll supports – and, on average, yields were down by 4-5% on the 5-year average of 7.9 t/ha.

When it comes to the Barley crop, the NFRU poll indicated that the majority of Winter Barley growers (32%) experienced lower yields this year compared with last year and 36% of Spring Barley growers said yields were lower, albeit from a smaller sample. Just 22% of Winter Barley growers said that they had higher yields, with a higher percentage of farmers in the South West (37%) and the West Midlands (27%) reporting higher yields this harvest. For Spring Barley growers in the North West (44%), South West (33%) and South East (29%) said that had higher yields compared to last year. Indications are that yields of Winter Barley and Spring Barley were both down on the 5-year average.

The NFRU poll result indicates that the regional yield performances of Winter Wheat, Winter Barley and Spring Barley were more variable and that this was probably due to the difficult weather conditions experienced this year, says Jim Williams.

For further information or comment, please contact:

  1. Jim Williams, Marketing and Communications Director of Precision Prospecting on 01728 622500 or by email at

  2. Jo Palmer, Prime Contact Communications on 01760 724469 or

  3. To see more about the NFRU, please see the new web site at

1) The National Farm Research Unit is a full service, applied market research unit, based in Framingham, Suffolk. The NFRU conducts research projects in all agriculture, livestock, food and many other business-to-business sectors and contacts 40,000 farmers, vets, merchants and consumers per year on a rolling basis in the UK, Ireland and internationally. It has a unique targeted database of contacts and a highly skilled and experienced interviewing team, asking questions about current practices and attitudes. It is involved in ad hoc surveys and syndicated surveys for a wide range of clients.

2) Precision Prospecting. Established in 1993, Precision Prospecting is a Research Driven Marketing company, specialising in agriculture, animals and food. It has brought together the disciplines of pure market research, product management, marketing and sales in order to help R & D manufacturers deliver practical marketing to drive sales. It has offices in Framingham, Suffolk.

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