“Not unexpected” was the reaction of Andrew Moir, chairman of the NFU Scotland combinable crop committee, to the release of autumn cereal figures by the Home Grown Cereals Authority showing a double digit fall in acres sown.
The findings, based on evidence from agronomists responsible for nearly 240,000 hectares of arable land across England and Scotland, show planting areas down an anticipated 12 per cent for winter wheat, 9 per cent for winter barley and 3 per cent for oilseed rape.
The late harvest combined with difficulties drilling due to heavy rain and poor soil conditions have been cited as the main causes of the drop in plantings. Moir said his main concern was the knock-on effect on the spring work, with the survey also throwing up a projected 40 per cent increase.
He was not too concerned about finding a home for the extra spring grain as the distilling industry has already indicated an increased demand. “Buyers have said they will be looking for more barley.”