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England wheat area rises by 28% on last year -ministry

·1-min read
A John Deere combine harvester is seen harvesting winter wheat in a field near Kimpton

LONDON (Reuters) - The wheat area in England for this year's harvest rose 28% from 2020 to 1.62 million hectares, Britain's farm ministry said on Thursday issuing provisional results of its June survey.

The estimate was broadly in line with a survey issued by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board last month which saw a 26% rise in Britain's wheat area.

"With better weather conditions in the latter part of 2020 than 2019, enabling growers to plant their crops in the winter, we are seeing a return to more expected levels in the areas of cereal crops in England," the ministry said.

The previous season's wet weather during the autumn planting window for wheat forced many farmers to switch to spring-sown crops such as spring barley.

Rapeseed plantings in England were estimated by the ministry to have fallen by 21% to 273,000 hectares.

Farmers in England have cut back rapeseed plantings in recent years partly due to problems controlling cabbage stem flea beetle, crop analysts have said.

Curbs on the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids have led to problems controlling the beetles.

Spring barley area in England fell 42% to 461,000 hectares while winter barley plantings rose 35% to 343,000 hectares, also reflecting the shift from spring to winter sown crops.

(Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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