Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 24 April 2017

Mixed verdicts on yields as harvest ratchets up a gear

Excellent harvesting conditions are reported, with crop moisture levels expected to drop significantly on the back of higher temperatures.
Excellent harvesting conditions are reported, with crop moisture levels expected to drop significantly on the back of higher temperatures.
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Combines have been working around the clock since Sunday as this year's harvest ratcheted up a few gears in the south.

Excellent harvesting conditions are reported, with crop moisture levels expected to drop significantly on the back of higher temperatures.

James Irish of Brett Brothers in Callan, Co Kilkenny said small areas of winter barley had been cut but the strongest crops had yet to be harvested.

While it's too soon to give an accurate prediction on yields, Mr Irish said early crops were averaging around 4t/ac, with good fields getting up to 4.5t/ac.

Two-row and six-row varieties such as Escarde were bushelling in the mid to high 60s, while hybrids were coming in around 60-62kph. Moistures generally ranged from 18pc to 21pc, with some crops as low as 16pc.

South Tipperary grower, Willie John Lonergan, has cut a small area of the six-row variety, Hyvido Volume. It came in at 19pc moisture and 67-68kph. He hadn't the yield calculated but was confident it would hit around 4t/ac to 4.5t/ac.

Mr Lonergan, who farms near the village of Ardfinnan, said crops were generally looking good.

Further north, Bobby Miller from the Irish Grain Growers Association said early reports suggest that yield is back half to one tonne an acre from 2015. However, the Stradbally, Co Laois farmer said yields were averaging 3.3t/ac to date from the few fields that are cut, with bushel in the low 60s.


"Moisture is running between 16 and 19pc for ripe crops," said Mr Miller.

"There is very little straw baled but yield is also back on last year."

He added: "At this rate the merchants accounts won't be cleared."

On price, Mr Miller said €120/t delivered had been reported in the midlands for green barley.

Carlow agricultural advisor Pat Minnock predicted that prices for green barley would struggle to reach €130/t. The 2015 equivalent was €135-140/t.

Mr Minnock said they were expecting lower yields this year, with straw yield also back.

Frustration

Meanwhile, a number of grain growers at a meeting in Corrin Mart, Fermoy, Co Cork called for changes to the IFA's grain committee.

IFA president Joe Healy said it was a "robust" meeting with a lot of frustration at a fourth year of bad prices for the sector.

He said they would be putting more emphasis on the grain representatives at county level to ensure all key material is communicated from the national grain committee to county level and to take on board the information gathered from county to county.

Mr Healy said they wanted Irish merchants to increase the percentage of Irish grain in their rations and many farmers also felt more Irish grains should be used in our growing whiskey industry.

Indo Farming