By FWi staff

UK oilseed rape plantings are up 6.7% this year – and that may be an under-estimate, says the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

In its 21st Planting Survey, published this week, the HGCA puts OSR plantings at 475,000ha – but admits that this figure may fall short of the actual acreage. Last year, MAFFs December census showed a rise in OSR acreage of 14% – more than the HGCA estimate – and this may be the case again this year.

In cereals, the authority puts total plantings at 3.462 million ha, 1% down on the June 1997 census. Of these, winter barley has dropped sharply by 6.2%, while spring barley is up 2.5% by acreage, wheat up marginally at 0.3% and oats by 0.6%.

The HGCA points out that for wheat and barley, its figures have a better track record than for OSR – last year, its survey gave almost identical figures to the June census.

Scottish wheat and barley plantings are estimated to have remained steady, with the same acreage as last year. But in barley, winter crops have dropped by 9,000ha, while spring plantings are up 6,000ha.

UK cereal and OSR areas, 19971-98

ENGLAND & WALESSCOTLANDNORTHERN IRELANDUNITED KINGDOM% CHANGE 1997-98
199719982199719982199719983199719982
Wheat192119271091097620362043+0.3
Barley977946344341363113581318-2.9
Winter7537087970810839787-6.2
Spring2252382652712921519531+2.5
Oats7675212421100100+0.6
TOTAL
wheat, barley & oats
29742948474475463934943462-0.9
Oilseed rape438640959660.450.44445475+6.7
  1. 1997 census
  2. HGCA estimate
  3. DANI estimate
  4. Excluding that grown on set-aside land