The UK wheat harvest is expected to be more than a fifth larger than last year’s, according to the first crop estimate from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Higher production than last year is expected across the country, with Defra announcing a provisional 2019 wheat harvest of 16.3 million tonnes (m/t), up 20.1% year-on-year.

While subject to revision as further results from the harvest are received, this figure is well above the five-year average across 2014-2018 of 15.2m/t.

Defra has also published provisional barley production figures for the UK, which were up 25.6% year on year and above the five-year average through 2014-2018 of 6.9m/t. At 8.180m/t, this would be the largest barley crop in at least 30 years, according to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

“Varying yields were seen in 2018, resulting in below-average production,” stated Defra. “Provisional results for 2019 show higher production than 2018 and this change is consistent across regions of the UK.”

Writing in the AHDB Grain Market Daily newsletter, AHDB arable analyst Peter Collier said the prospect of large harvests – making large quantities available for export – cemented the ongoing need for UK markets to be globally competitive for the foreseeable future.

“With domestic consumption of barley typically around 6m/t, this would create a 2m/t exportable in a year of potential trade disruptions,” he added.