Britain's wheat area seen rebounding for 2021 harvest

LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Britain's wheat area is set to rebound for the 2021 harvest and should be around its five-year average, according to a planting survey issued on Friday.

Wheat area was seen at 1.815 million hectares, up 28.3% from the 2020 harvest when adverse conditions forced many farmers to switch from sowing winter wheat to spring barley, Britain's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said issuing results on an early bird survey.

"While this is a sizeable increase, it comes as little surprise after last year’s difficult drilling campaign, resulting in many growers turning to spring cropping, the AHDB said, noting the area was in line with the 1.816 million hectares recorded in 2019.

Rapeseed area was seen falling 18.1% to 318,000 hectares which would be the lowest since 1986.

"Anxieties around the risks, economic feasibility and pest prevalence of this break crop have been cited as particular challenges," the AHDB said.

Flea beetles have posed a growing threat to British rapeseed in recent years following a ban on the use of insecticides known as neonicotinoids to protect bees.

Spring barley area was seen falling 30% to 767,000 hectares with growers switching back to winter wheat.

The survey is carried out each autumn to assess national cropping intentions. It is undertaken by The Andersons Centre, with the help of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) and other agronomists. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt, editing by Louise Heavens)

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