Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 25 September 2017

'Volatile' outlook for tillage

Edmund Leahy, Kilmagner, Fermoy, Co Cork is pictured harvesting Cassia winter barley sown on September 15th which yielded 3.8 tons per acre at 21% moisture & bushelled 65KPH. Photo O'Gorman Photography.
Edmund Leahy, Kilmagner, Fermoy, Co Cork is pictured harvesting Cassia winter barley sown on September 15th which yielded 3.8 tons per acre at 21% moisture & bushelled 65KPH. Photo O'Gorman Photography.

As the combines get set to roll in south Tipperary and east Cork, tillage farmers have been warned they are in for a bumpy ride with prices described as "volatile" on world markets due to major weather events.

After a mixed start to the growing season, the latest Irish harvest production estimates have been revised significantly downwards.

The IFA's grain executive secretary Fintan Conway warned the "cold late spring" is also expected to take its toll on potential yield, while 24,600ha less of the main crop - spring barley - was planted.

"The total crop area for cereals, oilseeds and proteins is back by an estimated 13,700ha," said Mr Conway, with estimates from the EU farming umbrella body, Copa, also suggesting a drop in production right across Europe.

He said total grain production is expected to fall by over 380,000t for this year's harvest to around two million tonnes.

However, prices have strengthened in recent weeks, due to a series of international weather events in key producing regions, including torrential rain in the US and drought in Canada.

Volumes

Glanbia has been offering €155/t for green wheat and €138/t for green barley.

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Dairygold has been offering €159 for green wheat and €144 for green barley since July 2, while Liffey Mills has been offering €157 for green wheat and €142 for green barley.

Mr Conway said brokers have reported "significant volumes" trading over the past fortnight, with new crop dried wheat prices for October and November moving close to €200/t, with barley just €15/t behind.

The IFA's Liam Dunne said farmers have been suffering for the last few years with low prices. "There will be a huge amount of chopping of straw this year - there is no point in baling it up.

"People on rented ground are finding it difficult to make a profit," he said.

Teagasc chief agronomist John Spink said the recent spells of rain have helped both wheat and oilseed rape crops recover, with oilseed rape expected to deliver around 5t/ha of grains.

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