The planting of wheat in Britain has increased in area by 10% compared to last year’s figures, according to the HGCA’s Planting and Variety Survey for the 2010 crop. Conducted by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s cereals and oilseeds team, it revealed wheat planting has risen from 1.803m hectares (ha) to 1.992m ha, with the Group 4 wheat variety now making up over half (51%) of the total wheat produced in the UK. Group 1 plantings, the varieties that produce consistent milling and baking performance, were up 1%, to 17% of total wheat plantings. However AHDB senior cereals and oilseeds analyst Michael Archer said Group 1 plantings were up by 10% in the south east. Group 3 plantings, which contain soft varieties for cake flours for example, were 4% down.

"All regions have seen an increase in wheat area, encouraged by favourable planting conditions in autumn 2009," commented AHDB cereals and oilseeds analyst Tosin Onikoyi.

British barley has seen its lowest post-war plantings, having fallen 21% to 0.901m ha. It’s only the fourth time that the barley area has fallen below 1m ha in post-war times.

The spring barley area fell by 26% to 0.540m ha, while winter barley dropped by 9% to 0.361m ha. Oats fell 5% to 0.123m ha, while oilseed rape plantings increased by 14% to 0.661m ha.