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Britain's wheat area falls by 2 percent

LONDON - Wheat plantings in Britain declined two percent this season with the area sown in England falling to its lowest level since 2013, Britain's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said on Monday issuing results of a survey. "A pos...

 

LONDON - Wheat plantings in Britain declined two percent this season with the area sown in England falling to its lowest level since 2013, Britain's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said on Monday issuing results of a survey.

"A possible driver for the decrease could be growers exploring different rotational options and reconsidering the value of planting marginal land at current prices," the AHDB said, issuing its annual planting and variety survey.

UK wheat futures dipped below 100 pounds a metric ton in March for the first time since June 2010. Prices had recovered to some extent in recent weeks, buoyed by the weakness of sterling, ending at 122.90 pounds on Monday.

The survey showed the rapeseed area in England and Wales had declined by 9 percent.

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"This decrease is likely due to the prospects of low market returns at planting and increased risks associated with growing OSR, including from cabbage stem flea beetle," AHDB said.

Damage caused by the beetles has increased following curbs on the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. European Union rules have restricted their use to protect bees.

Spring barley area in Britain rose 6 percent while winter barley plantings fell by 4 percent, the survey showed.

"Spring barley looks to have benefited from a common trend across the country towards spring cropping, likely influenced by economic factors and efforts to control blackgrass and broader agronomic issues," AHDB said.

Blackgrass is a weed which has become widespread in Britain and is now found on 60 percent of arable land. It can reduce cereals yields

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