The UK’s wheat area is likely to be largely unchanged next year, but oilseed rape plantings are to fall by 14% to a 6-year low. , with sowings discouraged by the ongoing EU ban on neonicotinoid insecticides.
An early bird survey by UK crop body AHDB saw wheat plantings in Great Britain (which comprises the UK apart from Northern Ireland) steady with last 1.83 million hectares.
This leaves plantings 2% below the 5 year average.
“This includes spring wheat, which anecdotally is reported to be rising with the total wheat area,” said Brenda Mullan.
Despite what it called “excellent” autumn sowing conditions, AHDB noted at trend toward spring cropping, “most likely due to agronomic challenges”.
Falling oilseed rape planting
But the planted area of oilseed rape in Great Britain is expected to decline for the fourth consecutive season, falling 14% from 2015, to 565,000 hectares.
“If confirmed, this would be 19% below the five year average and the lowest area of oilseed rape since 2009,” AHDB, flagging the fact that 2015 levels were already down 3% from the previous year.
“A drop in the area planted to oilseed rape is not a surprise, given the profitability challenges with this crop in recent times,” Ms Mullan said.
“It’s likely that the restriction of the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments has also deterred planting,” she added.
An EU-wide ban on neonicotinoid pesticides has left oilseed rape crops more vulnerable to cabbage stem flea beetle infestation, which can force farmers to re-sow fields, or even abandon crops.
“We are continuing to invest in understanding the impacts of the restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments on planting decisions,” said Ms Mullan.
But thanks to higher oat and barley expectations, the total area of arable crops for harvest 2016 is forecast to rise 12,000 hectares to 4.53Mha, up 12,000m hectares.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/uk-rapeseed-plantings-to-hit-6-year-low-wheat-steady–9009.html)