The first estimates of UK cereal plantings for the 2016 harvest see a marginal increase in the UK winter wheat area.
French market analyst Strategie Grains says that high yielding 2015 wheat crops, together with favourable autumn drilling conditions have supported good progress with winter wheat plantings. It estimates a 1.85 million hectare crop for 2016, up from the 1.83mha in 2015. This is an early estimate - although late October and early November has been wet, there is still land to be planted after potatoes and sugar beet.
The winter barley area is also forecast to increase, with a prediction of 450,000ha planted this autumn, compared to the 440,000ha sown for harvest 2015. However, there may be a more marked regional variation, as the late harvest may have led to a reduction in the area drilled where the sowing window was missed.
The analyst also predicts a rise in spring barley sowings – it forecasts a 690,000ha crop, up from 660,000ha last year. Growers are responding to god yields in 2015, plus the need to comply with the three crop rule and to help control blackgrass in badly-affected areas of the country.
The winter oat area is forecast at 140,000ha, up 10,000ha from last year, with rye unchanged at 7,000ha and triticale coming in at 16,000ha (15,000ha in 2015).
The increases are likely to be balanced by a further fall in the oilseed rape area. Strategie has not released any oilseed figures, but anecdotal estimates from the trade point to a 5-10% fall from the 653,000ha planted for harvest 2015.