Wheat costs could soar this season following outbreak of disease among crops.

Yellow rust and septoria in wheat with blackgrass-infested crops are common, with pesticide use increased in arable farming. The south west is reported to have been badly affected by wheat disease, with a decline in the effectiveness of the two main fungicides for its control.

This has prompted a look at delaying drilling, more careful variety choice and assessment of autumn fungicides.

Increased planted area

In November British Baker reported that a survey by AHDB/HGCA suggested the 2014 planted area for wheat could increase by as much as 22% following the previous drop. At the time, a team of agronomists estimated that the total wheat area would rise to approximately 1.98m hectares.

Jack Watts, lead analyst, AHDB/HGCA, said: “This autumn we’ve had good drilling conditions across the UK and, as a consequence, we are looking at a return to a more normal cropping mix for harvest 2014 following a large shift to spring cropping in 2013.

“The return of a more normal UK wheat area is the first step to the UK returning to the export market, although yields and quality remain weather-dependent.”