Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 5 December 2016

Tillage 'nightmare' as weather ruins harvest

Published 04/10/2011 | 05:00

Contractor Trevor
McClean (on the combine) and
William Brown (baling) salvage
crops from a disastrous
harvest in Donegal
Contractor Trevor McClean (on the combine) and William Brown (baling) salvage crops from a disastrous harvest in Donegal

Tillage farmers on the western seaboard are facing one of their worst harvests in over 25 years as weather continues to dog efforts to save crops.

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Figures from Met Eireann show that the northern half of the west coast received 175pc of its normal rainfall in September, although Donegal appears to have been worst hit.

"Last Wednesday was the first proper harvesting day that we've had during the whole month of September," said Liam Robb, a well-known Newtowncunningham-based tillage farmer and contractor.

He estimates that there is still 25pc of the crop left to harvest and waterlogged ground conditions are already compromising next year's crops.

"The weather is already having an impact on next year's harvest since I didn't get a chance to sow any winter oilseed rape (OSR) and ground conditions are going to hell for planting in general. It's been an absolute nightmare," he said.

Fellow Donegal grower Jonathon Lecky, from Letterkenny, said that up to 50pc of yield was lost in some crops that were burnt off three weeks ago.

"Farmers have been cutting at 30pc moisture just to salvage crops, even though the local mill started refusing grain that was over 25pc," he said.

"A month of near continuous rain has made it a horrendous harvest."

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IFA grain secretary Fintan Conway said that there were significant amounts of grain still to be cut along the western seaboard, in parts of Westmeath, across Northern Ireland and throughout Scotland.

"Some crops, such as spring OSR, spring wheat and spring oats, have yet to ripen properly in some areas and the losses due to shedding is quite severe in some cases," he said.

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