Current indications of winter crop plantings suggest a slight increase in total area. This varies from less than 5% in the south to possibly as much as 10% in the northeast.

The increased area was helped by the good harvesting conditions for maize and potatoes, which allowed winter cereals to be planted on much of this area.

Current estimates from the trade suggest that winter barley is broadly similar to last year at around 67,000ha.

Winter oats might be up just over 1,000ha to 15,000ha. And winter wheat might get close to 60,000ha, depending on home-saved seed. With winter oilseed rape area up about 3,000ha and bean area likely to increase due to the pressure on nitrogen prices, it is possible that spring cereal area will be down unless there is an increase in total crop area.

Area estimates are normally based on certified seed sales but there may be an increase in home saved seed usage this year due to the good harvest conditions. But this is impossible to quantify until the BPS planting data becomes available.