3. Winter crops
Year-on-year comparisons between 2016 and 2017 December Survey results show:
- A decrease in the area of winter crops, of 22,500 hectares (11 per cent) to 174,100 hectares. The figure is nine per cent lower than the ten-year average of 191,800 hectares.
- A decrease in winter wheat of 10,900 hectares (11 per cent) to 92,900 hectares. The figure is six per cent lower than the ten-year average of 98,900 hectares.
- A decrease in winter barley of 10,200 hectares (20 per cent) to 41,600 hectares. The figure is 20 per cent lower than the ten-year average of 51,800 hectares.
- A decrease in winter oats of 860 hectares (nine per cent) to 8,500 hectares. The figure is 11 per cent higher than the ten-year average of 7,700 hectares.
- A decrease in winter oilseed rape of 550 hectares (1.7 per cent) to 31,000 hectares. The figure is seven per cent lower than the ten-year average of 33,400 hectares.
The area of winter crops sown is greatly affected by the weather and is likely to be made up by increased spring planting.
3.1 Winter or Spring?
Chart 1 illustrates winter and spring crop areas from the 2015/16 and 2016/17 growing years, together with the latest December 2017 data.
Spring varieties are prominent for barley and oats, with winter varieties prominent for wheat and oilseed rape.
The December Survey only provides the first indication of trends of winter sown crops. More comprehensive results are produced from the June Census in the following year.
Chart 1: Winter and Spring Crops
For each crop the chart shows the values at June 2016, June 2017, and then December 2017. The spring-planting values for the latest year are not yet known
Chart 2 shows trends in winter crops reported in the December Survey and the following June Census over the past ten years. Results are presented against the year of harvest, so for example the 2016 December Survey results are presented against June Census results from 2017.
Chart 2: Winter crops, December Survey and June Census by year of harvest
Final wheat figures are generally slightly higher than December figures due to small areas of spring wheat, or winter wheat sown after the start of December. Among other crops, the June figures for winter crops are often lower than those reported in December. This is likely to be due to poor weather conditions resulting in failed winter crops which are then re-sown as spring crops.