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

The weather has been largely dry during April, with some frost earlier in the month. The warmer weather experienced over the Easter period saw a growth surge in most regions, all of which were warmer than their respective long-term average.

Rainfall during the month has been well below average for most. This compounded the soil moisture deficit recorded at the end of March, stated as greater than the long-term average for the time of year for most of the country. While farmers are generally happy with the condition of their crops, there are concerns starting around yield impact should the dryness continue and start to cause water stress. In addition, the dry soils are slowing the uptake of nitrogen fertilisers.

However, the dry conditions have meant that drilling of spring crops is almost complete, except for some areas of spring oilseed rape and spring oats.

While generally growers are pleased with grain prices currently, there are worries over the cost of input (fuel and fertiliser) and the erratic supply of some agrochemicals. This has led some to increase their interest in reducing fuel usage, resulting in discussions over reduced tillage methods.

The below table illustrates the condition score for major cereals and oilseeds crops, as at 27 April 2022.

Crop conditions UK crops April 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

Growth stages are variable, depending on location, drilling date and variety. However, warmer temperatures have aided growth and leaf 3 is now typically emerging. The West Midlands have noted that crop appearance has now improved following nitrogen uptake.

Prospects currently look hopeful, although most are citing that rain is now needed.

Spring

By 27 April, drilling was almost complete (98%), with two thirds of the crop sown in March. Early drilled crops have established well, although those sown into dry seedbeds have been slow to emerge.

Prospects remain dependant on rainfall.

Winter wheat crop conditions

Barley

Winter

The last few weeks has seen good crop growth, with generally good plant and tiller numbers. Early sown crops are thick and require additional PGR application. Hybrid varieties are noted as doing particularly well. In Scotland, forward crops are now at flag emergence.

Providing there is some rain, the outlook is fair.

Spring

Drilling is almost complete at the time of reporting (98%), with 57% of the crop sown in March. Early sown crops have emerged well, although those drilled into dry seedbeds have had patchy emergence.

Winter barley crop conditions

Oats

Winter

Overall, the crop has been less affected by the dry conditions than wheat and barley, and the plants look well.

If rain arrives, prospects are fair.

Spring

Drilling is largely complete (99%), with the majority (58%) of crops sown in March. Mixed establishment is reported due to the dry conditions. Small amounts remain to be drilled in Wales, where some reduced cultivation has been recorded for some growers. In the East, there are reports that establishment has not been as good as other spring crops.

Prospects are dependant on rainfall.

Winter oats crop conditions

Oilseed Rape

Winter

Crops range from mid-flowering to pod fill. Most farmers are positive about their winter oilseed rape plant numbers and condition. Crops previously damaged by Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle and pigeons are said to be recovering well.

Most crops are looking promising.

Spring

Drilling 73% complete, with 67% sown in April. There are some reports of good establishment, but the picture is mixed overall. Many are reporting patchy establishment due to the dry seedbeds. In the West Midlands, the most advanced crops are at first leaf emergence.

There are some concerns surrounding Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle damaging prospects.

Winter OSR crop conditions


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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