Wednesday, June 12, 2013

[biofuelwatch] NFU poll forecasts low UK arable crop again in 2013

Cereals 2013: Harvested area down 29 per cent, NFU poll suggests.

<making bio-ethanol from UK wheat and biodiesel from OSR look even more stupid>

THE NFU is predicting a major reduction in the 2013 wheat harvest following the unprecedented weather of the past year or so.

A new snapshot NFU member poll suggests the overall harvested area on the farms surveyed could be 29 per cent lower than in 2012. This follows on from HGCA figures showing winter wheat planting area was 25 per cent down.

The NFU is cautious about the poll, taken in May of 76 members of NFU crops boards across England and Wales, covering around 16,000ha of land, but warns it will have profound implications for the harvest if reflected nationally.

In a separate NFU survey nearly half of arable farmers interviewed (45 per cent) were less confident about the prospects facing their farm business in the next 12 months compared to last year.

Speaking ahead of the Cereals Event which starts today (Wednesday, June 12), NFU combinable crops chairman Andrew Watts said the `extreme weather' has hit arable farms this year. He warned that the situation is being compounded by forthcoming restrictions on neonicotinoid seed treatments, pushed through by the European Commission because of fears over bee health.

"Our poll is a snapshot but it is extremely worrying that planted area remaining viable for 2013 harvest on those farms looks set to be 29 per cent smaller than last year. If this plays out nationally, we will be below average production for the second year in a row."

"The saving grace in past years has been crop protection technology, which can help maintain yield potential and all important grain quality by guarding against pests and ensure crops are more drought and flood resistant.

"However, with the march by lobbying organisations to force restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids and potential restrictions on triazoles, it is hardly surprising to see that short-term confidence is so low."

He stressed that with experts predicting extreme weather is likely to become more frequent, crop protection technology must be `embraced to help safeguard our harvests in years to come'.

"After lower volume and quality from the 2012 crop put pressure on cashflow and profitability, the signals we are getting indicate these difficulties will continue after 2013. We urge the UK Government to support English farmers with its implementation of the CAP reform, which must not put us at a disadvantage compared to other EU farmers," he said.
NFU farmer confidence survey

564 farmer and grower members, including 124 arable farmers were surveyed in April and May.

Asked to rate their overall confidence in the prospects facing their farm business for the next 12 months, compared with the poast year:

12 per cent said much less confident, 33 per cent a little less confident; 39 per cent the same level of confidence; 14 per cent a little more confident; 2 per cent much more confident.


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