The UK will harvest less wheat due to more barley and oilseed rape (OSR) having been sown.

This is according to the latest planting and variety survey from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB).

The survey, which provides planted area estimates for the UK with a regional breakdown, revealed the UK wheat area for harvest 2023 is set to slightly decrease year on year.

It is estimated that 1.75 million hectares of wheat has been planted for harvest 2023. The slight year-on-year decrease in wheat area has been at the expense of additional barley and oilseed rape (OSR) being sown.

BYDV tillage farmers petal-fall stage nitrogen light leaf spot disease oilseed rape harvest potash

The total UK barley area is estimated to increase by 5% in the year with an uplift in both winter and spring area.

There is also an increase in the GB rape area, which is estimated to increase 11% year-on-year.

High prices in spring 2022 offered growers the incentive to plant additional OSR.

There seems to be a movement away from alternative break crops such as oats, as the GB oat area is set to decrease by 7% year-on-year.

Barley and oilseed rape

Anthony Speight, AHDB senior analyst, said: “The UK harvest is here and it’s highly likely that gross margins for 2023 are going to be squeezed in comparison to 2022.

“This season has been a high input year for farmers as inflation, energy prices and input costs have increased exponentially.

“Since winter crops have been sown, global grain markets have been on a downward drift as markets have adjusted, navigated and digested the war and geo-politics in the Black Sea.

“It’s a hard time for growers as cereal and oilseed prices are now lower than what they were when planting intentions were decided last year, and those peak marketing opportunities may have passed for 2023 harvest.”

Speight explained that with the war continuing in Ukraine, it is still a volatile and unknown time for commodity prices.

“As harvest 2023 starts, growers will have a clearer idea on their breakeven point,” he said.

oilseed rape

For 2023, the total UK wheat area is estimated at 1.75 million hectares, 3% down from 2022.

The total UK barley area for harvest 2023 is estimated at 1.15 million hectares , up 5% on the year.

The GB spring barley area is estimated at 702,000ha, up 7% year-on-year, while the GB winter barley area is estimated to be 2% higher at 434,000ha.

The GB oat area is estimated at 161,000ha, this is 7% down year-on-year. In contrast, the GB rape area 11% higher than 2022 levels, estimated at 402,000ha for 2023.

KWS Extase is the most popular wheat variety for 2023, accounting for 17% of the total GB wheat area.

For barley, Laureate is the most popular variety, accounting for 32% of the total GB barley area.