Wheat production has remained stable this year, despite lower yields, according to the NFU’s annual harvest survey.

It put UK wheat production at 14.8m – only slightly below the five-year average of 14.9m tonnes, with an increase in planted area offsetting a 3% reduction in yields.

Winter barley production fell by 6.9%, due to a smaller planted area and poorer performance, with yields 2% below last year and 3% less than the five-year average.

However, oilseed rape yields increased by 3.7%, which, with a higher planted area, boosted production by 9.7% above average.

“The production increase shows the benefits from both the greater adoption of technology on farm and also improved plant varieties,” said combinable crops chairman, Ian Backhouse.

“However, the increased area of oilseed rape indicates it remains the main break crop of choice on farm, highlighting again the limited choice for farmers for other profitable break crops.
“The variability in yields seen this year, across cereals in particular, shows that even with farmers’ best efforts, production can be impacted by the vagaries of the weather, which in turn contributes to the market volatility we are experiencing.”