Mixed harvest shows need for Government to drive arable productivity, NFU survey shows

A mixed harvest demonstrates the need for Government to drive arable productivity and efficiency through a new domestic agricultural policy, as the NFU’s annual harvest survey reveals varied results for Britain’s arable farmers.

This year’s harvest has seen variable results across British arable farms, demonstrating the need for farmers to have access to all the tools available, including plant protection products.

The NFU’s survey shows that overall crop yields are estimated to have increased to 8 tonnes per hectare, rising above the five-year average of 7.9 tonnes per hectare.

However, while some farmers have seen increases, many arable farmers have witnessed their crop yields decrease after unpredictable weather severely impacted this year’s harvest.

NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly said: “While it is good news that we are seeing overall yields increase, many farmers are still struggling with unpredictable weather, rising input prices and restricted access to plant protection products. Even now, many farmers have still yet to complete this year’s harvest.

“It is vital we build on increasing yields and in order to do this farmers’ need to have all the tools available to protect their crops and invest in new technology.

“A new domestic agricultural policy must enable farm businesses to be profitable and productive, while easing the impact of volatility to ensure Britain’s arable farmers can continue to provide food for the nation and deliver for the environment.

“Plant protection products are clearly top of that list and with the futures of both neonicotinoids and glyphosate currently at a critical juncture, the NFU is calling on Government to support their availability to farmers.”

Brexit uncertainty has led many farmers to delay investments or improvements on their farm as they wait for clarity on our future trading relationship with the EU and what a domestic agricultural policy may look like.

The NFU’s confidence survey showed that 20% of farmers surveyed are likely to decrease investment in the next 12 months as a result of the EU referendum result.



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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.