UK: Highest wheat yield on record thanks to ‘perfect’ weather and crop protection

This year will be a record high for wheat yields in the UK, a survey predicts.

This year will be a record high for wheat yields in the UK, a survey predicts. - Credit: citizenside.com

The average wheat yield for the UK’s 2014 harvest will reach a record high following a summer of near perfect growing conditions for the crop, a survey indicates.

Wheat yields are expected to reach a record high, but farmers' leaders are lobbying for tighter rest

Wheat yields are expected to reach a record high, but farmers' leaders are lobbying for tighter restrictions on the use of chemicals to be reviewed. - Credit: citizenside.com

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) harvest survey predicts that the 2014 UK wheat harvest will weigh in at over 8.6 tonnes per hectare, the largest ever, and 16% more than 2013 – the biggest uplift in 30 years.

The perfect summer for growing conditions contrasted with the wettest winter and third warmest spring on record earlier this year, creating favourable conditions for disease in crops.

But the NFU argued that disease was kept at bay with careful management and the appropriate use of available crop protection products, ensured not only healthy thriving plants but a high-quality yield.

The NFU is lobbying for a different way of regulating the use of chemical such as fungicides and insecticides on crops, following a tightening up of rules, complaining that the European Union (EU) Commission has removed and restricts vital active ingredients in crop protection products,


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NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly said: “This year’s wheat harvest shows how dependent crop yield is on the weather and, as extreme weather events become more frequent, how we as farmers can cope with this.

“Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of the weather but fungicides and insecticides are essential tools allowing us to protect our crops in adverse weather. Many of these are under threat from EU Commission regulation and as this legislation hits, in turn, will compromise both the quality and potential yield of wheat.

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“If farmers are going to rise to the challenge of producing food amidst climate change and the weather volatility that comes with it, then we need to be allowed to use the most effective active ingredients for the job. Research needs government interest and investment so we can grow crops resilient to all weather conditions.

“Farmers have an important job to do, we need the right regulation in place and access to appropriate chemistry to ensure we can all enjoy and benefit from an abundant and healthy harvest, such as we have had this year. Optimising our productivity allows us to impact less on the environment and meet our responsibilities to the growing global demand for food.”

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