An Overview of CCC Croppings for Harvest 2018
Each year it is always interesting to see how cropping areas across the UK change. With a different climate and topography to a lot of the UK, it’s always useful to see how the cropping of CCC members in the south of England compares with that of the rest of the UK. Market value, climate, weed control, harvest management and legislation have all influenced crop choices in the UK, and 2017 proved to be no different. The initial results of the Early Bird Survey give a good idea of trends across the UK, and its always interesting to see if these findings correlate with with our own members.
A Decline in 2nd Wheat
Over the last 4 years across the UK the winter wheat cropping area has shown a very slight downward trend, and that has proved no different this year. A wet summer made it a challenge for many farmers in the south to harvest milling wheat before a loss in grain quality and with an increasing black grass pressure, it is no surprise to see that the wheat area hasn’t changed significantly. Within CCC, the percentage area of 1st wheats showed no change. However the dry spring last year saw take-all effect many second wheats, therefore many farms have reduced the area of second wheats in favour of an alternative break crops.
Big Increases for OSR and Spring Barley
Since the banning of Neonicotinoids in flowering crops in 2012, it was no surprise to see the area of oilseed rape decline significantly due to an increase in pressure of flea beetle. With the price of oilseed rape hitting over £300/t again, it has seen an increase in popularity as a break crop with the UK seeing a 9% increase. However, this is still predicted to be 18% lower than the record 2012 area of 642 thousand hectares. Within CCC the area never declined as drastically as parts of the UK, however this year has seen a huge 16% increase in oilseed rape area within the group. It is important to remind many farmers of the risk of growing rape too close in the rotation with verticillium wilt, club root and a reduction in yield potential all effecting gross margins.