Defra Report UK Winter Wheat Area Up 11.4 Percent

Defra say that UK farmers planted 1.9 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2010 harvest, an increase of 11.4% on last season.

Winter barley plantings were down 3.3% (is that all?) to 410,000 hectares, whilst rapeseed plantings are seen 9.8% higher at 628,000 hectares, they say.

If UK wheat production were to increase by 11.4% then we'd be looking at a crop of around 17 MMT this year, potentially the second highest output on record.

Of course it's not quite as straightforward as that. If the Rank Hovis advertising campaign is correct, and one in eight British fields is growing wheat on contract for them this year, then that means that 1/8th of the UK crop will only be yielding half of what it would normally produce.

And aren't Warburtons, the second biggest grocery brand in the country after Coca-Cola, also supposed to be launching an all British loaf later this year? Presumably that will also be made from similar low-yielding wheat?

Also, keen not to be left behind, I read recently that Sainsbury's said that they are "on course" to also switch to using flour made from 100% British wheat across it's entire in-store baked range.