Sunday 25 September 2016

Average incomes on tillage farms set to drop by 40pc

Declan O'Brien

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

A cow and a calf stand in a pasture at a farm in Mengatas, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Indonesia plans to produce 460,000 tons of meat in 2016. Photo: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg
A cow and a calf stand in a pasture at a farm in Mengatas, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Indonesia plans to produce 460,000 tons of meat in 2016. Photo: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Tillage farmers have been warned to keep a firm handle on land rental and machinery costs.

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Forecasting that average income on tillage farms was likely to fall by around 40pc this year - dropping from €34,000 to €20,000 on National Farm Survey farms - Teagasc researcher Fiona Thorne said controlling costs would be vital.

She cautioned growers against expanding their operations simply to maintain income, pointing out that increasing efficiency rather than scale was generally a wiser approach.

Ms Thorne said the outlook for the cereal sector was not good and showed no sign of improving before the end of the decade.

She was speaking at last week's Teagasc National Crops Forum.

There should be no shortage of seed for this autumn's sowings despite poor harvest yields.

Machinery costs

Meanwhile, Donal Fitzgerald of Goldcrop said he was quietly confident that seed demand for sowings will be met.

He said yields from winter barley crops had averaged around 3.5t/ac, which was below expectations.

However, given that the acreage of winter barley was expected to fall back for the 2017 harvest, he predicted that sufficient seed should be available.

"If the Goldcrop yields are mirrored nationally then we should be okay," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Although winter wheat crops were under some sprouting pressure prior to harvest, they still yielded around 4t/ac on average, he said.

Tim O'Donovan of Seedtech said he was "very happy" with the spring barley yields which hit 3.5t/ac. Winter oats yielded from 3t/ac to 3.7t/ac.

Indo Farming

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