wheat

The major commodity crops in the UK are wheat, barley, oilseed rape, field beans, sugar beet and potatoes, but around half of agricultural land grows grass.   

Table of areas and yields of major UK crops from Defra statistics.

Crop Area M ha Yield t/ha Production Mt
Wheat 1.8 7.9 14
Barley 1.2 6.1 7.4
Oilseed 0.5 3.3 1.6
Field Beans 0.17 3.5 0.6
Potatoes 0.14 45 5.5
Field Vegetables 0.5    

 

The vast majority of arable crops are annual, with seeds sown in autumn or spring and harvested in summer.  Crop choice and rotations differ with farming system, soil type, climate and market access, but most arable farms grow wheat as a main crop with other crops grown as breaks.

The growing of crops is supported by the agronomy supply industry, represented by AIC. Independent agronomists are represented by AICC.

Most crops have had a levy charged on their sale, either statutory or voluntary, which is used to support marketing, research and knowledge exchange for growers.  AHDB represents cereals and oilseeds, PGRO represents peas & beans and BBRO represents sugar beet.

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ADAS provides ideas, specialist knowledge and solutions to secure our food and enhance the environment.

YEN

Yield Enhancement Networks (YENs) were launched in 2012 to support and energise on-farm learning-by-sharing and thus to enhance farming progress.

Plants need around 12 essential mineral nutrients to grow: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Boron and Molybdenum. Some of these are available in sufficient quantity from the soil, others may need to be supplied from fertilisers or manures.

Diseases infect susceptible plant hosts, where environmental conditions favor disease development. Infected crops achieve lower yields and the quality of the produce can also be affected.

Biostimulants are increasingly available and are now widely marketed to farmers. While the jury is still out on a definitive definition, most definitions of biostimulants explain that they should stimulate plant nutrition processes independently of the product’s nutrient content with the aim of improving one or more of the following characteristics: nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and/or quality.

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Share information, knowledge, resources and experience on how we can improve crop perfomance (yield, quality and profitability) whilst reducing reliance on input, reducing impacts and improving environmental performance.

AHDB commissions research and knowledge exchange on behalf of the Cereals, Oilseeds, beef, dairy, lamb and pig sectors

Pioneering innovation, technology and precision engineering for UK farming. 

ADAS has the largest group of crop physiologists in the country

Arable crops in the UK make up just under half of the farmed area (3.9M ha out of 9M ha)

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Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. It has been shown to be a high yielding relatively low input crop that can do well in second cereal and less fertile conditions, but its adoption is hampered by lack of a reliable consistent market.

Cover crops are grown primarily to ‘protect or improve’ soils between periods of regular crop production. They can be effective at improving soil functions by increasing soil nutrient and water retention, improving soil structure/quality, reducing the risk of soil erosion, surface run-off and diffuse pollution by providing soil cover and by managing weeds or soil-borne pests.  

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You need to measure to be able to manage. Yet most farms for most crops don't have a systematic approach to monitoring their crops through the season. This means we lose the opportunity to compare across fields, farms and years. There are now a suite of technologies to sense crops and the ability to share data across farms, providing the opportunity to learn what works on-farm.

Wheat is the mostly wide grown crop in the UK. Nationally yields average around 8 t/ha/

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The Morley Agricultural Foundation is a charity that supports farming in the East of England by funding agricultural research, student studies, professional development of farmers and others and a variety of educational projects for school age children.

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Crop canopy sensing – your virtual farm walk?

Podcast on all things crop production by Alice Dyer and the CropTec team

Potatoes are an important UK crop grown over 140,000 ha producing 5.5 Million tonnes

The Leading Voice for the Agrisupply Industry The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is the agrisupply industry’s leading trade association.

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Map of crop type for every field in the UK since 2016, produced by CEH & RSAC.

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