'Prices have been low over the summer and I don't see them improving' '
My Week: Nigel Jeffers
The low barley price means Nigel Jeffers' plans to buy a new combine harvester this year are on hold.
"I was actually planning to change the combine last year, but now it looks as though it will be next year before I get around to that. It's a headache,'' says the 45-year-old tillage farmer from Augha near Bagenalstown in Co Carlow.
He has just harvested 10ac of spring barley at the family farm. "It's not going to be a good yield we'll scarcely get three tonnes an acre," he says.
And there is a bit of take-all in the spring barley crop which he puts down to the weather over the growing season. "This is unusual because I have had very little experience of the disease and I have been a tillage farmer for over 20 years," he adds.
Tillage farmers throughout the region need slow growth and dry conditions for abundant crops, but the winter storms and intermittent sunshine have worked against them. Both slowed growth and the application of routine tillage treatments to the crops.
In balance sheet terms Nigel got €170 a tonne for his spring barley crop over the past two seasons and he is now looking at €157 a tonne at current prices.
"Prices are back a good bit and have been consistently low over the summer and I don't see them improving. It's disappointing."
On the plus side, Nigel says he expects good returns from his next harvesting task - 18ac of oats next week - and the 75ac of malt barley is "looking good".