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Sunday 11 December 2016

Winter barley growers are down €150/hectare this year

Declan O'Brien

Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30

Winter barley
Winter barley

Winter barley growers lost over €150/ha this year when fixed costs were taken into account, the IFA has claimed.

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An analysis of costs and returns for cereal growers showed that the average input charges for winter barley were €1,221/ha, while it returned just €1,066/ha or a loss of €155/t. These figures are based on a yield of 7.9t/ha and a green price of €135/t.

Based on this year's yield and price, the loss equates to around €20/t.

Similar losses were recorded for the other crops. Losses in winter wheat came to €27/ha, while winter oats growers were out of pocket for €52/ha.

Losses in the spring crops came to €75/ha for barley, €80/ha for wheat and €21/ha for oats. Losses on beans came to €167/ha.

Oilseed rape was the only crop on which farmers made money, according to IFA's calculations. Growers of winter oilseed rape made €92/ha, while spring oilseed rape made €8/ha.

Reacting to the findings, Liam Dunne, IFA grain committee chairman said the vast majority of cereal would be heavily subsidising cereal crop production from their direct payments or other income sources this year.

"It is quite clear that the spend on crop inputs is completely out of line with grain prices. The EU Commission, as a matter of urgency, must abolish fertiliser duties and instigate an investigation into EU plant protection product prices," Mr Dunne said.

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"Given current price offers for grain many farmers producing crops, particularly off rented land, would be better off dropping it and leasing out their entitlements," he added.

"The trade need to realise that current situation is not sustainable and step up to the mark to support green grain prices this harvest."

The latest prediction on the Irish harvest from IFA has put the total cereal crop at 2.11m tonnes, or almost 500,000 tonnes behind last year.

Meanwhile, spot Irish dried grain prices have moved closer to imported prices in recent days, with barley trading at €150/t to €151/t and €10/t over this range on offer for wheat. Grain for November collection is trading €2/t to €3/t over spot prices.

On account prices for green grain off the combine are varying from €115/t to €125/t (at 20pc moisture excluding VAT) for barley, with €5/t to €8/t over on offer for wheat.

Price final deals for green barley are ranging from €126/t to €134/t. Oat prices are varying from parity with barley to €5/t under.

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