Harvest will be down by 20pc
Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30
The harvest output this year looks set to fall by 500,000 tonnes or almost 20pc compared to the bumper crop of 2015, writes Declan O'Brien.
The sharp drop in production will cost the cereals sector close to €75m.
Overall grain production for 2016 is forecast at 2.1m tonnes, compared to 2.6m tonnes last year, the IFA has estimated.
Poor yields this year relative to 2015, and the continuing reduction in the area sown to cereals are being blamed for the sharp fall in grain output.
The IFA has warned that sowings this autumn could be down by 15,000ha to under 260,000ha, meaning that the total area under tillage will have fallen by 20pc in five years.
Meanwhile, wet weather over the weekend brought the latest surge in harvesting activity to a temporary halt.
Good progress has been reported in the south and southeast, with close on 65pc the cereal area harvested.
Broken weather, coupled with later ripening, has slowed progress further north, where approximately 50pc of the grain area is cut.
Winter wheat yields are holding up better than anticipated particularly for first wheats, which are averaging around 4.2t/ac but back by 0.3t/ac to 0.4t/ac on last harvest. Bushel weights for the early cut wheat vary from 75kph to 81kph off the combine.
Good progress has been made harvesting the March-sown spring barley crop, but a lot of the April sowings are at least a fortnight away from being ripe. Yields range from 2.6t/ac to 3.7t/ac, with pet fields doing more.