Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pest pressure sees decline in England’s oilseed rape

September 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

The area of oilseed rape in England has fallen to a 16-year low following another year of challenging agronomics and pest pressure.

The amount of rape grown in England and Scotland fell to 514,000ha in 2019 – a year-on-year decline of 11%, according to the annual AHDB Planting and Variety Survey. But the area of oats increased by 9% to 178,000ha. Wheat also showed an increase.

AHDB analyst Peter Collier said: “The challenges being faced with oilseed rape have resulted in the lowest area since 2003. With an increased area planted to cereals and potentially good yields, a greater importance should be placed on marketing grain effectively.”

Oilseed Rape

Poor establishment in a dry autumn, followed by cabbage stem flea beetle damage, saw the oilseed rape area reduced to the lowest level since 2003. Damaged oilseed rape crops, in many circumstances, were replaced with cereals, said Mr Collier.

But crops still have the potential to record good yields where oilseed rape establishes well and does not suffer from larvae. Northern England has seen less pest damage and the rape area in Scotland has reduced to a lesser extent, down 6% at 31,000ha.

Wheat

Almost all regions of England and Scotland recorded an increased wheat area. Good prices during the 2018/19 marketing season may have incentivised this, said Mr Collier.

In terms of varieties, areas for nabim Group 1 and 2 varieties account for 36% of the 2019 British wheat area, a 2% decline on last year. The decrease in the Group 2 area has been to the benefit of Group 3 varieties.

Accounting for 11% of the GB wheat area, these varieties recorded a 49,000ha rise on last year and 99,000ha on 2017. Higher-yielding Group 3 varieties, such as KWS Barrel and Basset, have aided the recovery in the Group 3 area.

Group 3 wheats have likely replaced some Group 4 area, which is reduced. Both the Group 4 hard and Group 4 soft areas are estimated to decrease, back 43,000ha and 19,000ha respectively.

Barley

The overall British barley area remained largely similar to last year. The areas planted to winter and spring varieties changed. With crops looking in good condition in the run-up to harvest, final yields when confirmed could be higher than last year.

The winter barley area has recovered from last year’s lows. At 422,000ha, the area reported is up 11% from 2018. The national spring barley area is 4% lower than last year but the crop area continues to grow in some areas where it is increasingly used to control blackgrass.

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