NFU Peg English Wheat Crop At Under 12 MMT

15/06/11 -- On the opening day of Cereals 2011 the NFU have given everybody something to talk about by pegging the English wheat crop at 'under 12 MMT' with yields forecast to average 6.5 MT/ha.

"This year's forecast yield decrease was largely due to poor growing conditions since winter," they helpfully inform us. I'm glad that they pointed that bit out as it had completely passed me by that's for sure.

Bear in mind though that this is the English wheat crop, not the UK wheat crop that we are talking about here. The NFU appear to either not know that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exist, or simply don't care. And who can blame them for that?

The thrifty Jocks, or the ginger ninjas as I like to call them, have had oodles of rainfall so should be capable of chipping in with around 850,000 MT of wheat of their own this year I'd guess, maybe even a tad more than that.

Allowing for what the inbred Welsh can cobble together and a very modest showing from the Micks, we're looking at a top end of an extra million tonnes to add onto what the NFU are giving us to come up with a UK crop of 13 MMT top whack.

That would be around 12% down on last year.

It should be pointed out here though that the NFU have a bit of a track record of underestimating the size of the wheat crop at this time of year compared to what Defra have eventually come up with. Or on the other hand you could say that Defra don't know their spotty botties from a hole in the ground. They've weren't exactly overly accurate with their export estimates for the current season were they?

It remains a fact though that the NFU have been around half a million tonnes shy of what is popularly accepted as being the eventual size of our wheat crop when issuing their summer estimates in both 2010 and 2009. (One of the virtues of having a blog that's been around for some time now is that I can look back and find all this trivia for you).

If they are down by that amount again then we may end up with a UK wheat crop approaching 13.5 MMT this year, which would be 9% down on last year and the third lowest crop in the last ten years.

English Rapeseed yields are pegged at 3.1 MT/ha, 10% down on last year. If we use that yield on a UK level then we are probably looking at a crop of around 2.1 MMT this year, only slightly down on last year thanks to a sharp increase in plantings.