UK wheat crop estimate cut; now down more than 40%

A sharp drop in wheat production had been expected after a wet autumn in 2019

  

LONDON- The United Kingdom's wheat harvest this year is expected to be down 40.5% at 9.66 million tonnes, Britain's farming and environment ministry said on Tuesday in its final crop estimates.

The estimate was slightly below the 10.13 million tonnes forecast in its preliminary report on Oct. 5. 

A sharp drop in wheat production had been expected after a wet autumn in 2019 forced many farmers to switch to spring-planted crops, such as barley, while yields had been expected to be below normal after a dry spring.

Barley production was seen at 8.12 million tonnes, below a previous estimate of 8.36 million but up 0.9% from the previous year.

The ministry also cut its estimate for the UK rapeseed crop to 1.04 million tonnes, down 40.8% year on year, compared with a previous estimate of 1.07 million tonnes.

Rapeseed production has now fallen by more than half since 2017, with many farmers turning away from the crop because of extensive problems with flea beetles after a ban on some widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees.

(Reporting by Nigel Hunt Editing by David Goodman) ((nigel.hunt@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 8421; Reuters Messaging: nigel.hunt.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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