Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s oat harvest may be the largest in about 40 years after farmers boosted planting this spring, according to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.
Production may be 850,000 to 1 million metric tons, the highest since the late 1970s, said Helen Plant, a senior analyst at the Kenilworth, England-based AHDB. Excess rain last autumn meant farmers couldn’t plant some winter crops including wheat and rapeseed, leaving fields available to be sown with spring crops including oats. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs will release its first estimate on this season’s oat production tomorrow.
“Production levels will give us a potentially large surplus to go into animal feed, exports or stocks,” Plant said in an interview yesterday at the AHDB’s outlook conference in London. “The big EU exporters are Finland and Sweden, and they’re expecting larger crops than last year. Spain, which has been a traditional export market, had a much better crop than last year, so their import requirements are going to be lower.”
Milling demand for oats in the U.K. usually totals about 500,000 tons, Plant said. Farmers in the U.K. were expected to harvest oats on 159,000 hectares (392,898 acres), up 32 percent from last year, the AHDB said in August. In 2012, U.K. oat production was 627,000 tons, according to Defra.
--Editors: Dan Weeks, Claudia Carpenter