Britain’s wheat harvest is on course to hit a record high this year – but high yields around the world mean grainprices are depressed and restrictions on pesticide and herbicides are causing concern for the future.
West Country farmer Mike Hambly, national chairman of the NFU’s combinable crops board, said good summer weather had been the main driver for a record-breaking harvest, in the region and across the country as a whole.
The 2014 UK harvest is expected to weigh in at over 8.6 tonnes per hectare, the largest ever and 16 per cent more than 2013 – the biggest uplift in 30 years. But the NFU warns that as regulation from the EU Commission removes and restricts vital active ingredients in crop protection products that level of output cannot be guaranteed in the future. It is lobbying for a different way of regulating to allow for more harvests like this year’s.
Although the summer weather was almost perfect for growing wheat and other cereals, the wettest winter and third warmest spring on record earlier this year, created favourable conditions for disease in crops. These were kept at bay with careful management and the appropriate use of available crop protection products, say farmers, and ensured not only healthy thriving plants but a high-quality yield.
Mr Hambly, who farms in Cornwall, said: “This year’s wheat harvest shows how dependent crop yield is on the weather and, as extreme weather events become more frequent, how we as farmers can cope with this.”
“We are at the mercy of the weather but fungicides and insecticides are essential tools allowing us to protect our crops in adverse weather. Many of these are under threat from EU Commission regulation and as this legislation hits it will compromise both the quality and yield of wheat.”
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/record-wheat-yield-rewarded-with-low-return)