Next summer Britain’s combines are set to harvest the largest area of wheat since 2014, according to an AHDB survey, which also shows spring barley falling for the first time in five years.
The AHDB’s Early Bird Survey, which includes spring wheat, is forecast to rise by 4% to 1.86m hectares for harvest 2019.
Winter barley (up 13%) and oats (up 9%) have also increased, which the AHDB suggests is down to the favourable drilling conditions in most parts of the country and comparatively high prices, encouraging growers to plant more winter varieties.
For oats, this increase means the British crop has increased by almost 50% since 2015.
AHDB analyst Daniel Rooney highlights that the move to autumn cropping goes against the recent trend of farmers growing more spring cropping. This rise in spring cropping had been fuelled by a need to tackle blackgrass.
Consequently, the area of spring barley is anticipated to fall 3% to 735,000ha, the first decline since 2014.
Moving to oilseed rape, the survey shows a likely decline of 3% in the area, down to 582,000ha.
Mr Rooney said: “Seed sales figures and anecdotal evidence suggest that the total planted area for oilseed rape was similar to or even possibly higher than last year.
“But dry conditions and cabbage stem flea beetle caused more crop losses than previous years, leading to an overall decline.”
Final results and regional data will be available following the release of final Defra data, scheduled for late December.