September 1, 2011
UK 2011-12 wheat harvest to decrease 3.4% on year
Although UK grain quality is good, its wheat produce is expected to decline by 3.4% in contrast to the previous year, according to a survey of farmers reported Wednesday (Aug 31) by risk manager Offre & Demande Agricole.
With the 2011 harvest around 92% complete, specific weights for the grain are averaging over 78 kilogrammes per hectoliter, an important quality criteria stipulated by importers, said ODA.
"Farmers are reporting that the 2011 harvest for wheat and barley is down on 2010 yields, but is not as bad as anticipated after the variations in weather during the season," said ODA.
Concerns about the size of the UK harvest have grown this year due to severe drought in key growing regions in the south and east during the spring. Early surveys had predicted wheat yield falls of up to 15% due to dryness.
The UK barley crop has also suffered from the dry conditions earlier in the year, said ODA.
Winter barley yields are coming in 13.5% down on last year at an average of 6.7 tonnes a hectare with 49% of the malting barley screened for brewing. Spring barley yields are down 4.5% on last season with 90% good enough for malting.
"After such a dry season, production losses were minimal compared to last year," said ODA.
"Rapeseed yields, however, have come in above average with a number of farms recording more than five tonnes a hectare," said ODA. It estimates that production will rise 10.5% compared with 2010.
Seventy-nine grain farmers responded to the recent survey across Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Essex, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.