Sowings in doubt as prices tumble
Tillage farmers are in turmoil following the latest move in grain trading, which predicts a green grain price of €85/t for feed barley this harvest.
The combination of falling forward grain prices and rising fertiliser prices has left thousands of tillage farmers wondering whether to sow any crop this spring.
Price indications from the trade this week of €85/t for green feed barley and €95-105/t for wheat off the combine would see many growers lose up to €50/t on grain produced.
The price of CAN is continuing to rise, with some quotes of €235-240/t being touted. However, better deals at €205-215/t are still being agreed by some farmers.
IFA grain chairman Noel Delaney insisted that growers needed a minimum grain price guarantee before sowing this season.
"Any farmer who puts a plough in the ground in the absence of a minimum price guarantee is gambling his single farm payment and more," he warned.
"Pressure from the trade to increase fertiliser prices in recent days will exacerbate these losses," he added.
Mr Delaney advised farmers to look at alternative options that would give better returns, including a clover/grass ley, alternative crops, farm-to-farm sales or simply leaving it as ley ground.