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

This is the final crop condition report for the 2020/21 growing season. It summarises the condition of major GB cereal and oilseeds crops pre-harvest and is at the start of July.

The spring weather this year was a tale of two halves. The cold, fourth driest on record, April gave way to a cool, wet May, which was the fourth wettest since 1862. This rain helped to accelerate crop development that had stagnated somewhat in April.

The below table illustrates the condition score for major cereals and oilseeds crops, as at the start of July 2021.

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

Overall, 68% of the GB winter wheat crop is rated “good-excellent”, with just 6% “poor-very poor”. However, there are some regional differences that underpin the headlines. The North East, West Midlands & Wales and the East Midlands are reporting that 84% of the winter wheat falls in the top two condition categories, while the South East and Yorkshire & the Humber state only 54% of their winter wheat to be in “good-excellent” condition. Strong regional effects of Black-grass have been seen, seemingly increasingly problematic in earlier sown crops. In addition, wet weather in May has increased Septoria, with rain splash transferring the infection to yield forming parts of the plant.

By the beginning of July, the majority (76%) of crops were at medium milk; the main exception to this being later sown Scottish crops. The most forward crops are seen in the South West, with 70% at soft dough stage. Pockets of the South East, West Midlands and Eastern regions are also reporting crops at this stage (5%).

Spring

For spring wheat crops, 50% are estimated to be in “good-excellent” condition, although the slight majority (45%) are rated as “fair”. Only 5% are pitched at “poor” and none as “very poor”. Significant regional difference are noted, with 100% of Scottish crops estimated to be “good-excellent”, compared to 25% in the South East – heavy regional rainfall in June in this area having a detrimental impact.

Barley

Winter

As at the beginning of July, 68% of winter barley crops are in “good-excellent” condition. The strongest crops are in the West Midlands and North East, while Yorkshire & the Humber rated just 48% of winter barley in “good-excellent” condition, with the majority being reported as “fair” (50%).

The start of July has seen 58% of GB winter barley crops at the soft dough stage, with a few forward crops reaching the grain hardening stage. These more forward crops are largely in the South West.

Weed, pest and disease pressure is generally low, although the odd pockets of black-grass have been identified and occasional areas of rhynchosporium.

Spring

The majority of the crop was planted in March and April, though continued into May in Scotland, the North West and the West Midlands. Establishment was good overall. The dry conditions resulted in slow initial growth, though subsequent rainfall has led to rapid progression.

Spring barley crops are estimated 74% “good-excellent”, with only 7% rated as “poor-very poor”. Eastern crops are pitched at 94% “good-excellent”, versus 55% of Scottish spring barley falling in the same categories. The majority (40%) of crops have finished flowering, with a small (6%) of forward crops hitting the soft dough stage. These are largely located in the South West and East Midlands.

Weed and pest pressure is generally low and well controlled. Disease pressure is low overall, although Yorkshire has seen the highest levels of rhynchosporium infection for many years.

Oats

At the beginning of July, 78% of winter and spring oats have been rated as “good-excellent”. The Eastern region is reporting 91% and 94% of winter and spring oats respectively as “good-excellent” while in turn, the South East is estimating 65% and 55% in the top two categories.

Eleven percent of GB winter oats have reached soft dough stage, with the majority (80%) of the South West at this stage. However, the majority of GB crops (38%) are currently at the medium milk stage.

Later planted spring oats are mostly (45%) showing ears fully emerged. Again, the most forward crops are in the South West, with 50% of the spring oat area at the soft dough stage.

Oilseed Rape

Winter

The estimated condition of OSR at the beginning of July was 59% “good-excellent”, with 13% rated as “poor-very poor”. Yorkshire & the Humber rated 76% of the OSR area as “good-excellent”. More challenges have been seen in the South East and Eastern regions, with 36% and 40% of crops reported as “good-excellent” and 30% and 20% (respectively) of area of questionable viability.

All GB crops in all regions are now seeds full size and green.

While large numbers of Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle (CSFB) were seen in the autumn, winter crops have generally recovered well from the damage – helped by the ample rainfall. However, the high incidence of CSFB in the Eastern region led to loss of leading shoots, causing delays to flowering and uneven development across the field. In contrast, Yorkshire & the Humber have reported their lowest levels of CSFB damage since the neonic ban. Weed and disease pressure are low overall and well controlled.


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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