Final estimates of the cereal and oilseed rape harvest 2017
These estimates indicate that, compared with final estimates from the 2016 harvest:
Spring barley production increased by 11 per cent to 1.4 million tonnes, due to an eight per cent increase in yield and a two per cent increase in the planted area.
Winter barley production increased by seven per cent to 352,000 tonnes, due to an eight per cent increase in average yield and a one per cent reduction in area.
Wheat production fell by four per cent to 889,000 tonnes, due to a four per cent fall in yield. Planted area remained unchanged.
Oat production fell eight per cent on last year’s record harvest, to 185,000 tonnes, due to a 12 per cent drop in yield on a five per cent increase in area.
Oilseed rape production increased by 41 per cent to 144,000 tonnes, due to an 11 per cent increase in area and a 27 per cent increase in yield.
Total cereal production in Scotland is estimated to have increased in 2017 by 107,000 tonnes to 2.86 million tonnes. This is slightly below average for the last ten years. While the volume of the harvest was poorer than expected, and moisture content was particularly high, industry experts collecting data have reported no particular concerns over quality.
In 2016 cereals were estimated to have accounted for about 11 per cent of farm output.
The total cereal area increased 1.2 per cent compared to 2016. About 433,000 hectares of cereals were grown in 2016/17. Areas have ranged between 398,000 hectares in 2006 and 468,000 hectares in 1998.
Overall cereal production is estimated at 2.86 million tonnes; 226,000 tonnes or seven per cent below provisional estimates.
The estimated increase in production of spring barley (up 11 per cent) is less than suggested by provisional estimates (16 per cent).
Winter barley production rose by 23,000 instead of 42,000 tonnes.
Wheat production was down four per cent rather than the increase of seven per cent initially estimated.
Oats have seen an fall of eight per cent, rather than the similarly sized increase initially estimated.
Oilseed production increased 41 per cent, rather than 38 per cent.
This year the revision to overall cereal yield was higher than normal, at seven per cent. Discussions which produced the initial estimates occurred at the end of September, and were based on data from about 250 farms. While these farmers had been affected by the wet weather, they had nevertheless been able to find windows of a dry few days to get the harvest in. For many of them, yields had been exceptionally high, which led to the very positive initial estimates.
There was a mixed experience in this year’s harvest. The wet weather experienced throughout the summer meant that growing condition were reasonably favourable, as long as it was possible to find a window of a few good days for the crop to dry out and then to get the combine into the field. Those that managed this, particularly in the earlier part of the harvest, managed some excellent yields. However, as the harvest drew on, these opportunities became increasingly difficult to find, which meant others lost substantial amounts of their crop.
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