UK heading for largest barley crop in 30 years – perhaps!

If Defra’s 2019 first estimates for barley production prove correct, the UK is heading for its largest barley crop in at least 30 years, creating a 2 million tonne (Mt) export requirement in a year of potential trade disruptions.

To be correct, however, Defra will need to be right about barley yields, which AHDB has said are ‘significantly higher yield figures’ than its own harvest surveys have suggested.

These are the headline barley observations made by AHDB in its reaction to today’s release by Defra of the 2019 first estimates for wheat and barley production. The same reaction also included a sharp comment on future export requirements regarding wheat.

“Wheat production at 16.283Mt has come as little surprise given the yields recorded and crop prospects,” said AHDB. “Yet this does cement the export requirement and ongoing need for UK markets to be globally competitive for the foreseeable future.

“However, UK barley production figures have come out higher than industry and our expectations for between 7.5-7.7Mt. At 8.180Mt, this would be the largest barley crop in at least 30 years, requiring significantly higher yield figures than our own harvest surveys had suggested. With domestic consumption of barley typically around 6Mt, this would create a 2Mt exportable in a year of potential trade disruptions.

“Greater clarity as to the factors and data behind the larger than expected barley production figure will be released on Thursday, as will other crop production estimates and regional yield data.”

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