THERE has been a "significant decline" in cereals and oilseeds plantings this autumn compared to last year, according to an early snapshot poll.
The AHDB/HGCA survey is based on anecdotal evidence from agronomists responsible for nearly 240,000 hectares (ha) of arable land across England and Scotland. It covers crops already in the ground and farmers’ planting intentions, weather permitting.
The poll found that planting areas are down by around 12% for winter wheat (to 1.76m ha), 9% for winter barley (to 385,000 ha) and 3% for oilseed rape (to 732,000 ha).
The main reason for the drop appears to be difficulties drilling due to the heavy rain and poor soil conditions, alongside this year’s late harvest.
That means the national spring barley crop area is now projected to rise by 40% to 865,000ha.
AHDB/HGCA senior analyst Jack Watts said: “These figures need to be treated as a very early snapshot for the 2013 harvest.
“There are a number of critical factors yet to determine final harvest areas, including seed availability for spring crops, pest damage, waterlogging, non-germination or emergence issues and weather conditions over the winter.
“As these play out over the coming months, the area harvested in 2013 may well differ from these initial estimates.”