Total wheat plantings are up 1% in Great Britain, according to the latest HGCA Planting and Variety Survey.

Conducted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Market Intelligence team, the survey of the 2011 crop showed that GB wheat plantings increased from a total area of 1.923m hectares (ha) to 1.941m ha.

Group 3 plantings (soft varieties used for biscuits and cakes) in Great Britain increased 4% to achieve a 15% share, while there was no change in the total area used for GB Group 1 plantings (varieties used for milling and baking), which remained at 17% of total plantings.

In Scotland, the total area for wheat plantings has risen to 0.116m ha, an increase of 4% from 2010, which is the second highest wheat area planted in Scotland since 1992.

“This increase in wheat production, coupled with a 4% rise in the spring barley planting indicates that Scotland can go some way towards compensating drought-lost production in England, but a lot will depend on the conditions at harvest,” said AHDB’s cereals and oilseeds senior analyst Jack Watts, who manages the surveys.

The Variety Survey showed that market prices have also been affecting variety choice, said the HGCA, with nabim Group 4 wheat varieties (which are mainly grown as feed wheats) increasing from 51% in 2010 to 54% of all wheat grown in Great Britain.

Added Watts: “Although milling varieties still remain important in some regions, levels of interest in Group 4 varieties are continuing to rise, indicating that growers are looking to maximise yields and capitalise on high prices.”

Total oilseed rape planting increased 9% following a 14% increase the previous year. Total barley plantings were up 2%.