Dramatic UK wheat decline as barley production increases

UK wheat production for 2020 was estimated at 10.133 million tonnes in provisional figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) this week.

That’s a 37.5% decrease from 2019 and is the smallest crop since 1981.

Barley production is estimated to have increased by 3.9% from last season at 8.363 million tonnes. That’s the largest crop since 1988.

It should be noted that 2020 data for Wales and Northern Ireland was not available and the 2019 figures were used to produce a UK estimate for 2020.

Expected yields

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) gave an update on expected yields for Great Britain on September 25. It should be noted that the harvest was not complete in all areas at this time.

Wheat yields were reported to be ranging between 7.1t/ha and 7.3t/ha. That’s 13-15% below the 2015-2019 average.

Winter barley yields were 6-9% below average at 5.8-6.1t/ha. Oat yields were ranging from 5.1t/ha to 5.3t/ha. This is 6-10% below the five-year average.

Winter oilseed rape yielded an estimated 2.7-3t/ha. This is 18-26% below the average for 2015-2019.

Spring barley was the only crop to perform higher than the five-year average. Spring barley crops yielded 5.8-6.1tha. This is 1-6% higher than the average over the past five years.