Crop development

This interactive tool helps show the condition and growth stages of different crops. The chart is split into regions and uses colours to show different conditions. You can also use the bottom chart to see growth stages of cereals or oilseeds.

Overview

This is the second crop condition report for the 2020/21 growing season and is as at end-March. The results of will give us insight into the condition of winter cereals and oilseeds, with a brief look at spring drilling progress.

A somewhat better winter drilling period as enabled crops to progress well and overall in a better condition than last year. Above average rainfall for January and February has created some problems, with spring drilling progress also a little pressured.

We can see in the condition score table below the percentage of this seasons winter crops falling into each category

Regional results and growth stages

Don't forget to scroll down the page to use our interactive dashboard to review regional crop condition results and crop growth stages.

Crop condition definitions

Crop condition was assessed using the USDA approach. This classifies crops into one of five categories, from very poor through to excellent (see details below). The values are given as the percentage of the GB crop area for that crop that falls in each of the categories – regional condition scores are available on the crop reporting dashboard on the AHDB website.

  • Very Poor - Extreme degree of loss to yield potential, complete or near crop failure.
  • Poor - Heavy degree of loss to yield potential, which can be caused by excess soil moisture, drought, disease, etc.
  • Fair - Less than normal crop condition. Yield loss is a possibility, but the extent is unknown.
  • Good - Yield prospects are normal. Moisture levels are adequate and disease, insect damage, and weed pressures are minor.
  • Excellent - Yield prospects are above normal. Crops are experiencing little or no stress. Disease, insect damage, and weed pressures are insignificant.

Wheat

Winter

Drilling was almost complete by the end of November, with an increased number of growers aiming drilling schedules for earlier than previous seasons. The last 7% was drilled in December through March on fields that had later harvested root or maize crops. The overall condition of winter wheat crops is fair to good. Earlier drilled crops established well and tillered well also. At the end of March, almost two-thirds (60%) of the crop were tillering. Around 7% of the crop was at first-node detectable stage (GS31), and was composed of the earlier drilled fields.

Overall disease pressures at the end of March was low. Yellow rust was the common featured disease in fields in most regions, brought on by the warmer weather. The winter frosts have helped to control mildew levels. The frosts too helped to control pest pressure levels.

In this report, 7% of winter wheat is rated ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’, compared with the 18% recorded in March 2020. An estimated 63% of the winter wheat crop is in good to excellent condition. This is far above 49% reported back in March 2020. This is an increase too from November 2020, where 57% of the crop was in this rating category.

Spring

An estimated 70% of the intended spring wheat area had been drilled by the end of March. Progress was seen most in Southern and Eastern regions of England. Progress has been slower on heavier soils, affected by high levels of rainfall in late-February and early March.

Barley

Winter

Establishment of winter barley crops was good, with crop conditions faring better this season. An estimated 10% of the winter barley crop area had the first node detectable (GS31). An estimated 27% had the leaf sheath erect (GS30) by the end of March. The majority (62%) of later October and November drilled crops remain at tillering (GS20-29).

Weed control in winter barley was sufficient with crops receiving pre-em and post-em sprays. Some later drilled crops affected by rainfall had spray timings missed which caused higher levels of blackgrass.

An estimated 10% of the crop is rated in ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ condition, versus 18% in March 2020. Potentially, a portion of the later planted crops could be in this category following some waterlogging of fields. 60% of the crop was in good to excellent condition, an increase from 45% last March.

Spring

An estimated 40% of the intended spring barley area had been drilled by the end of March. The majority of this area had been drilled during March owing to saturated fields in February. Drilling is nearing completion in parts of the East of England and South East England. An estimated 6% of the crop had emerged by the end of March.

Oats

The intended area for winter oats is estimated at 93% planted by the end of November, with most area sown in September (39%) and October (49%). The majority of winter oats (81%) had reached tillering by the end of March.

Drilling of spring oats began in February with an estimated 40% of the intended area drilled by the end of March, soil permitting.

Oilseed Rape

Winter

The majority of crops (76%) were planted in August, with the remaining area finished in September. At the end of March, most crops (60%) were at Green bud stage, with earlier planted crops reaching yellow bud stage (11%).

Cabbage stem flea beetle activity was at lower levels than spring 2020. The Midlands and Eastern England had high levels of CSFB present, though earlier drilled crops have matured away from damage. Pigeon grazing damage has been variable, with high levels of damage in Northern regions of England. The high levels of rainfall and warmer temperatures have brought on light leaf spot in some crops across GB.

An estimated 16% of winter OSR is rated as ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’ condition, a large decline from 37% reported in March 2020. This provides a good outlook for the crop, which despite a lower planted area could perform well.

In the good to excellent category, an estimated 41% of the crop is seen, this is an increase too on last year with the rating then at 26%.


Download the latest crop development report




How to use the dashboard

  • Use the drop down menu at the top of the first chart to view the crop conditions of a particular crop in each region.

  • Use the drop down menus at the top of the second chart to view the percentage of a crop at each growth stage. The drop down menus can also be used to show the information for a particular region.
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