September 30, 2011
UK wheat better than expected
Wheat yields in the UK fared better than initial concerns, but not as much as officials may believe, according to farmers who described the crop as showing "huge variability" in yields.
The UK's wheat yield was pegged by the National Farmers Union (NFU) at 7.4 tonnes per hectare, 3.6% less than the previous year and the lowest in four years, but above estimates made during the "extremely dry" spring.
The barley yield did not fare much better at 5.8 tonnes per hectare, or 9.1% less than the previous year to a 10-year low.
"The cereal and oilseed harvest has not been as bad as first feared," the NFU said, attributing "one of the lowest-ever rainfall levels record for the first half of the year across the majority of England".
Harvest-time rains also prevented many farmers from keeping up with ripening crops, according to NFU chairman of combinable crops Ian Backhouse.
However, Backhouse also noted the variability in yields, with some farmers seeing field or whole farm record production.
The total UK wheat crop, usually the EU's third biggest, was pegged at 14.7 million tonnes.