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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019
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The cereal harvest is forecast to be the worst in 24 years

The worst performing crop is forecast to be spring wheat which is set to fall by a staggering 58%.

Image: Shutterstock/LarryDJ

THE EXTREME WEATHER Ireland has experienced since late last year has played havoc with cereal crops, leading Teagasc to forecast the worst harvest since 1994.

Because of poor weather most spring crops were planted between 6 and 8 weeks later than normal.

Farmers were banking on a perfect growing season for these crops to achieve a normal yield, however the drought set in shortly after planting and many crops have received almost no rain since they were placed in the ground.

Total cereal production is set to drop by 27% while, with production set to fall by a staggering 58%, the worst performing crop is forecast to be wheat planted in the spring.

“A large decrease in the yields of spring crops is expected in 2018. Spring barley yields will be halved in many cases, with the average yields predicted to be 26% lower,” Michael Hennessy, of Teagasc, explained.

Similar decreases will be experienced in spring wheat and oats. A sharp reduction in straw yields is also predicted with an overall reduction of between 25-30% expected.

Winter crops weren’t as badly affected but yields are still predicted to be reduced by up to 1.23 tonnes per hectare.

Other crops such as beans and peas will see yields drop by 50-70% compared to 2017.

The dramatic yield drops will be somewhat compensated for by an increase in grain prices, which are 20% up compared to last year. An increased demand for straw has also seen prices rise by more than 100%.

Teagasc report that there has been a good uptake of farm-to-farm trading between tillage and livestock farmers, with a significant amount of winter wheat whole cropped for animal forage in some parts of the country.

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Ceimin Burke

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