Pest pressure and dry weather disrupted the UK’s winter sowing campaign, according as survey of planted areas.
Britain’s rapeseed area for the 2017 harvest is forecast to fall to a 13-year low while wheat sowings in the third ranked grower in the EU, are seen edging down year on year, according to a survey by The Andersons Centre.
Wheat sowings are seen down 1.1%, at 1.80m hectares, in part due to the effects of black grass, a widespread weed.
“Despite good drilling conditions, grass-weed challenges are placing a limit on the winter wheat area for most farms,” the note said.
Dry weather in the East
The survey put Britain’s rapeseed area at just 557,000 hectares, down 3.8% year on year.
Rapeseed sowing in the UK was hit by dry weather, as well as problems with cabbage stem flea beetles.
“In the East there is a dramatic decrease (down 28%) due to flea beetle difficulties and a lack of moisture making establishment very difficult,” said The Andersons Centre.
“Many areas have been written off and either sown with second wheat or destined for spring barley.”
In other areas rapeseed sowing has risen, but not enough to outweigh the lower sowings in the UK’s agricultural heartland.
“The UK rape area remains under siege from the blight of flea beetle and an on-going drought which has hampered drillings,” said analysis CRM AgriCommodities last week.
“The dilemma faced by many farmers is weighing up the recent market rally which has been seen recently and was expected by CRM analysis, with the on-going yield threat coming from the various agronomic pressures.”
“Looking at worst case scenarios and taking into account 5% winter kill, the possibility of the lowest harvested area since 2000 is not out of the question,” CRM said.
Data from the industry group AICC points to a 15-year low for rapeseed harvested area.
Wheat futures in London are hovering near two year highs, supported by export demand and the weaker pound.
May wheat futures in London were up 0.8%, at £143.25 a tonne.
(Source – http://www.agrimoney.com/news/pests-and-dry-weather-pressure-uk-winter-crop-plantings–10132.html)