AHDB goes deeper into crop estimate differences

Arable analysts are still looking at how Defra’s newly published provisional crop estimates for barley yields are so different to data contained in AHDB’s harvest report findings.

Based on Defra’s estimate of 6.5 tonne per hectare (t/ha) for spring barley, for example, the UK will end up with the highest spring barley yield on record, coming in at 1.0t/ha above the 10-year average. The knock-on from this is a spring barley production total of 4.631Mt production. That’s out of a total winter and spring barley estimate of 8.180Mt.

However, according to AHDB’s arable analyst, Peter Collier, the Board’s harvest report findings reflect a ‘more modest’ year on year increase in spring barley yields, which come in at 5.8-6.0t/ha in the harvest survey.

“This would place yields between that of 2014 and 2015,” said Mr Collier (pictured above), adding that the dry conditions in early summer had curbed some of the higher yield expectations, especially on lighter land.”

Defra’s provisional national winter yields of 7.9t/ha are also the highest on record, albeit running just 0.2t/ha above the previous high, recorded in 2015.

“Again, Defra’s provisional yields are greater than recorded by the AHDB Harvest report (7.4-7.6t/ha),” commented Mr Collier.

Turning to the provisional production estimate for oats of 1.082Mt in total, he pointed out that, if realised, this would be the largest crop since 1972, creating a requirement to export significantly greater tonnages than in recent years.

Commenting on oilseed rape estimates, he focused on the fact that Defra’s 529,000 ha crop area is above the Planting and Variety Survey findings, adding that questions have been posed about the area that was actually harvested relative to what remained planted at the time of both surveys being conducted.

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