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. The data for this interactive report is updated monthly.


This is the first crop condition report for the 2020/21 growing season and is as at end-November. The results of will give us insight into the emergence of winter cereals and oilseeds and provide a first look at condition ratings for the GB winter crop.

After a very challenging winter drilling period last season, eyes now turn to this season and how above average rainfall levels in some weeks have affected winter crops so far. Many opted to plant on earlier schedules to avoid a potential repeat of last season.

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 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.



Drilling was complete by the end of November, with an increased number of growers aiming drilling schedules for earlier than previous seasons. Favourable field conditions throughout early to mid-September meant 32% of the intended wheat area was drilled in that month. However, heavy rainfall and storms in late September and early October stopped drilling for most, especially true for those on heavier soils. Portions of crops planted after this window of rainfall have struggled for establishment, particularly in fields with sitting water. This increased rainfall has resulted in higher disease pressures, especially present in susceptible varieties.

Grass weed pressures are elevated this season because of the early drilling schedules. Blackgrass and Brome are featuring, though at manageable levels. Volunteer cereals are a problem for some. Pre-emergence sprays have aided in control measures, though the rainfall disrupted post-emergence sprays for spray schedules.


In this report, 12% of winter wheat is rated ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’, compared with the 15% recorded in November 2019. The biggest difference is that this season, 57% has been rated in ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ condition, whereas last November, this stood at 15%. In addition, just an estimated 8% of winter wheat crops were yet to emerge by the end of November, a significant decline from last year’s 49% unplanted or not yet emerged proportion.


Bringing attention to our Early Bird Survey, GB oilseed rape planted area intentions have declined again, down 18.1% to a provisional estimate of 318KHa.

This season, winter oilseed rape planting schedules were completed by the end of September, with the majority (75%) planted in August. Later planted crops have reportedly been more affected by cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) damage.

The wet weather towards the end of August has brought on higher levels of broad-leaved weeds in crops, which have required herbicide sprays. Incidence rates of CSFB were low across parts of the country, though hotspots were reported in the East of England and the Midlands. Some crop losses have occurred, with fields reseeded to winter cereals or pulses. Pigeon grazing was an issue in slow emerging crops too.



The majority of crops (85%) are at the 6+ leaf stage, whilst later drilled crops are mostly at expanded cotyledon stages.

In this first report, an estimated 5% of winter OSR is rated as ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’ condition, a marked decline of 20% from last season. This provides a good outlook for the crop, with hopes further CSFB damage will be less widespread this season.

The most significant difference is seen in the ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ category, which 77% of the winter OSR crop is rated at. Despite a lower planted area, a major proportion of the crop sitting in the upper condition ratings provides a better outlook for the winter OSR crop.



Similar to winter wheat, the drilling of winter barley was complete by the end of November. All of the planted area had emerged, with a majority (76%) of the crop reaching tillering stage (GS 21-23) by the end of November.

Early drilling of winter barley was a common occurrence, with conditions favourable throughout much of September. Some area was drilled later in October where delays from root crops and maize were seen. This area faced some establishment issues, due to the above average rainfall that fell over October.

In this first report, only 6% is rated in ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ condition, versus 16% last November. Potentially, a portion of the later planted crops could be in this category following some waterlogging of fields. Disease pressures have been seen, with net blotch and mildew especially reported, though at tolerable levels.

Much of the planted crop this season is weighted towards the better side of condition ratings, a big change from last year. Looking to this upper end of condition scores, 58% of winter barley is rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ condition, much higher than the 16% score in the first release last season.


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%). Earlier drilled fields were into good soil conditions, though heavier soils did see some waterlogging during parts of October.

For this first report, an estimated 2% of the crop has been rated as ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’ condition, with 25% reported in “fair” condition. Similar to the other winter cereals, a greater proportion of the crop sits in the upper end of condition scores.

An estimated 68% of the winter oat crop was rated ‘good’ to ‘excellent’, significantly higher than the 17% reported at the end of November last year.

Concluding thoughts

Despite plenty of rainfall already this season, crop prospects currently point to a better outlook. The return to a larger winter planted area for the GB region will help to bolster production potential as growers seek to move on from the difficulties faced last season. Early drilling has been particularly more common this season.

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.