Farming News - Provisional crop areas, yields and livestock populations published by Defra

Provisional crop areas, yields and livestock populations published by Defra

11 Oct 2018
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock

The total utilised agricultural area (UAA) in the UK has increased slightly to almost 17.5 million hectares. The area of total crops and uncropped arable land have also seen increases, helping to offset the 0.6% decrease in permanent grassland.

The 2018 harvest has been affected by the weather this year (high rainfall in spring and a long dry spell with high temperatures in the summer) causing varying yields across regions of the UK.

The decreased wheat yield and minimal change in area resulted in a 5.1% drop in production, from 14.8 million tonnes in 2017 to 14.1 million tonnes in 2018.

Winter and spring barley both saw decreased levels of production in 2018. A 7.7% drop in the production of spring barley in 2018 to 3.9 million tonnes, in spite of a small 1.1% increase in the area, was caused by an 8.7% fall in the spring barley yield. Winter barley production dropped by 8.0% to 2.7 million tonnes in 2018; this is mostly explained by a fall in the winter barley area of 6.7% to 394 thousand hectares, as well as a slightly lower yield of 6.9 tonnes per hectare in 2018 compared to 7.0 tonnes per hectare in 2017. The combined total yield for barley sits at 5.7 tonnes per hectare for 2018, below the five year average of 6.2 tonnes per hectare.

The planted area of oats had the largest proportional increase of the major cereal crops rising by 7.8%
to 174 thousand hectares. The UK yield decreased by 9.2% to 4.9 tonnes per hectare, caused by a decrease in the England yield of 11.6% which was offset by smaller decreases in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This resulted in a small estimated production decrease of 2.1% to 0.9 million tonnes in 2018.

Oilseed Rape
The provisional oilseed rape harvest has shown a decrease of 5.3% to 2.1 million tonnes in 2018. There was an increase of 6.8% in the planted area, however there was a decrease in total oilseed rape yield of 11.4%, from 3.9 tonnes per hectare in 2017 to 3.4 tonnes per hectare in 2018. This is similar to the five year average.

Horticultural crops 
In 2018 the total area of horticultural crops decreased by 0.3% to 167 thousand hectares. Vegetables
and salad for human consumption make up the majority (70%) of this area and remained virtually
unchanged at 117 thousand hectares in 2018.

The total number of cattle and calves in the UK fell by 1.1% in 2018 to 9.9 million. The female breeding herd accounts for over a third of the total cattle and stands at 3.4 million head in 2018. For pigs, the female breeding herd in 2018 saw a decrease of 1.6% compared to 2017, but with fattening pigs increasing by 1.3% to 4.5 million head, the total number of pigs increased by 1.0% and now stands at just over 5.0 million head. In 2018, the number of lambs in the UK decreased by 2.3% to 16.9 million and the female breeding flock decreased by 1.0%. This led to a total UK sheep and lamb population of 34.3 million, a decrease of 1.5% compared to 2017.

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