The winter cropping area for harvest 2014 is up 14%, the AHDB/HGCA winter planting survey has revealed.
In total, 2.976m ha of wheat, winter barley, oats and oilseed rape was planted in England and Wales by 1 December, helped by better weather compared with the poor previous winter.
Wheat plantings were at 1.815m ha, 19% up on the total area harvested in 2013, even before late winter and spring plantings.
Winter barley rose 41% to 369,000ha and OSR grew 3% to 703,000ha.
The area of oats planted so far was about 89,000ha, 38% down on the total harvested in 2013.
AHDB senior analyst Helen Plant said the rebound in winter planting showed a return to more normal cropping after the extremes of the past two seasons.
“The higher wheat area increases the likelihood of the UK being able to return to being a net exporter of wheat in 2014-15.”
Helen Plant, AHDB senior analyst
“The higher wheat area increases the likelihood of the UK being able to return to being a net exporter of wheat in 2014-15,” she said.
“However, weather 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 bigger wheat crop was being reflected in pricing, with November 2014 feed wheat futures trading at a greater discount to the equivalent Paris milling futures contract, Ms Plant said.
“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.”
The winter planting survey is based on 2,771 responses from a representative sample of farm businesses.