Big harvest despite weather

Updated figures confirm suggestions that this year’s harvest will prove to be big despite farmers enduring some of the most difficult conditions for decades.

The figures, from the NFU’s annual UK harvest survey, show grain producers are among the most productive in Europe, with output increasing faster than changes in plantings once again.
This year’s UK wheat yield is expected to be up by 17.1 per cent with production at 17.558 million tonnes, up 32.6% on last year. This is due to both increased yields and greater plantings, with yield estimates showing an increase in all regions in England and Wales.
Defra estimates show that farmers have responded to demand for food by increasing wheat plantings – up 13% on last year to 2.073 million hectares.
The yield increase was largely due to excellent planting conditions last autumn and exceptional growing conditions during the season, a marked contrast to the difficult growing conditions in 2007.
Ian Backhouse, chairman of the NFU combinable crops board, said,“To a large extent the experience in the UK this year mirrors increased wheat production across Europe and expectations for the global harvest.
Cereal growers across the EU have reported increased production in 2008, estimating a wheat harvest about 22 per cent up on last year’s output. Like the UK, total production in the EU has
increased as a result of higher average yield, coupled with an increase in planting.

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