Cereal sowings set to tumble another 15pc
Cereal sowings for the 2010 harvest are expected to fall by 15pc, Teagasc tillage experts have predicted.
The drop comes on top of a 13.4pc fall in sowings for the 2009 harvest and brings the total cereal reduction over the past two years to more than 18pc.
Spring barley is expected to take the biggest hit as tillage farmers drop unproductive land and expensive conacre in the face of poor grain price prospects.
In 2009, more than 156,000ha of tillage ground was sown to spring barley but this is expected to fall considerably for 2010.
Spring wheat area, which usually averages around 20,000ha, is also expected to fall in 2010 due to farmer disenchantment with production yields last year.
The figures for winter crops show a swing from winter wheat to winter barley.
The area sown to winter barley for 2010 is estimated to be 30pc higher than 2009, albeit from a low base of 17,800ha.
However, the higher figure for winter barley is expected to be cancelled out by a reduction in winter wheat area due to extremely wet weather in the back end of 2009.