Bumper crops abroad eat into profits at home
Irish tillage farmers are pinning their hopes on a serious weather event elsewhere in the world to help push up prices for domestic growers.
Glanbia and Dairygold offered farmers forward prices of €205/t and €210/t respectively for dried wheat in the past week, with €197/t and €195/t on offer for dried barley.
When converted into green harvest prices of €160-165/t for wheat and €155-157/t for barley, the prices would mean farmers would only break even this harvest, according to IFA tillage chairman Noel Delany.
"A spring barley crop yielding 2.4t/ac priced at €160/t would only cover the costs of production and nothing else," he said.
However, with a bumper maize crop expected from the United States and good growing conditions across Russia, the Ukraine and Baltic States, the prospect of a grain price increase here is not likely at the moment.
"But we were in the same position this time last year and the drought in America turned everything upside down," Mr Delany added.
Despite a delayed start to the maize sowing season in the United States, the 2013 US maize crop is expected to be 31pc higher than the drought-stricken crop of 2012.
The latest US government forecast is for a harvest of 14.1 billion bushels of corn, well ahead of the 2009 record of 13.1 billion bushels.