Crop development

The interactive tool at the bottom of this page helps show the condition and growth stages of different crops across GB. 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

In June, temperatures averaged 0.5-1.5ºC above typical levels. This pattern of weather continued into early July, with temperatures in parts of the south exceeding 30ºC on a number of occasions. Total rainfall in June averaged 50-75 mm in most arable regions, with little additional rainfall seen in July. Typical rainfall levels in June are c.100 mm. With less rainfall than usual for this time of year, there are increased concerns of water stress for many crops, especially those on light soils.

The prospect of achieving high wheat yields this season looked good up until the start of July.  However, heat stress is causing early senescence in crops across many regions, but especially in southern England. The earlier crops senesce the greater the impact on yield as it can reduce the photosynthetic duration of the plant, reducing the plant’s access to resources ahead of grain filling. Slightly lower temperatures, and greater moisture availability mean that yield potentials in northern England and Scotland are less affected by current conditions than for crops in the south. The weather, in particular temperature, over next three weeks will influence final wheat yields.

Thoughts turn to pre-harvest glyphosate applications and whether they are needed in winter barley, due to high prices and volatility in supply. Desiccation remains a common management decision in oilseed rape crops.

During the first week of July winter barley harvest started in some regions, especially on light land in the south. Oilseed rape harvest started during the second week of July. Combine harvesters were out overnight to try and increase moisture contents of harvested grain and seed. Early harvested crops require cooling for safe storage. However, high fuel costs mean farmers are having to balance cost of cooling against risk of grain over heating in stores.

The table below shows crop condition scores as at 12 July 2022.

A table showing the crop development scores as at July 12 2022

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 at the bottom of this page.

  • 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

Continued hot and dry weather, particularly in the south, is leading to early crop senescence. Heat stress is impacting crop condition scores with a reduction in the proportion of crops scoring good to excellent and an increase in the proportion scoring fair or poor. Crops scoring poor are forecast to yield 2-3 tonnes below average.

The greatest shift in crop condition is being recorded in the Midlands, Eastern and South East regions.

Crops received the full planned application of N, but some farmers have reduced the foliar urea application rate of nitrogen for milling wheats.

Bromes and wild oats are the main issues present in the crop where it was not patch treated with glyphosate earlier in the summer. High costs and reduced availability of glyphosate meant its use for patch treatment was less widespread than normal.

The focus is now turning to harvest. Harvest is expected to start in late July with earlier maturing varieties and crops on lighter land in the south.

Spring

As per the last report, crops that established well on heavier land are faring better with the heat and water stress than those on lighter ground.

All applied as planned. However, some farmers have reduced fertiliser applications due to higher input costs.

Grass weeds, such as blackgrass, brome and ryegrass are present. However, like oats, spring wheat is often grown on land with little or low infestations of these weeds.

Septoria pressure is reduced due to dry conditions. T2 and T3 spray applications provided good control of rust in most varieties. However, in susceptible varieties low levels of infection remain.

A graph showing the winter wheat crop condition scores as at 12 July 2022

Barley

Winter

The crop is ripening well with the recent dry, sunny weather. Harvest started for the most forward crops on the lightest land in the first week of July. The full campaign began in earnest on the 11th July.

Heat stress is impacting crop condition scores, with crops on light land most affected. However, the majority of crops are still rated good to excellent.

With the current cost of fuel and good weather forecast, farmers are waiting until crops reach optimal moisture before starting harvest, to minimise drying/cooling costs. 

Spring

As with spring wheat, early drilled crops in heavier land are faring better in the current conditions. Heat stress is starting to affect the crop condition scores of some spring barley crops, but the majority are still classified as good.

A graph showing the winter barley crop condition scores as at 12 July 2022

Oats

Winter

Winter crops are ripening well, with the majority of crops being scored as good. Early senescence is occurring where crops are affected by heat or water stress. 

Hot and dry weather over the next fortnight has potential to erode yield potential – but actual effects remain highly uncertain.

Harvest of winter oats expected to start in the next 7-10 days in England. Harvest in Scotland is a month off, where most crops are spring varieties.

Spring

As with other crops, early drilled crops are faring better with the heat and water stress than later drilled crops with poorer establishment.

Herbicides have worked well. Most spring oats are grown on land with little or few grass weed problems. Where blackgrass, ryegrass and brome have been present, it has been at relatively low levels.

Good prospects for early drilled crops, mixed prospects for later drilled crops.

A graph showing the Oats crop condition scores as at 12 July 2022

Oilseed Rape

Winter

Harvest started last week in the most eastern parts of England. The bulk of the WOSR harvest was expected to start w/c 11th July. Concerns over low moisture content is leading to harvest taking place over night or early morning.

Glyphosate has been applied to desiccate crops. Hot weather has hindered glyphosate application with farmers applying during early morning or late evening to maximise plant uptake.

The best crops have good yield potential, but those that had patchy establishment and/or pigeon/CSFB damage look less promising.

Spring

Those that do grow SOSR have reported mixed establishment, most at mid flower/pod set.

Prospects are variable and dependent on pest and weather pressures.

A graph showing the OSR crop condition scores as at 12 July 2022


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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