Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cereal yields look set to surge 100,000t beyond expectations

Cereal skills: Pictured at the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) cereal trials open day on the Ballyderown Farm, Moorepark, Fermoy are speaker Seamus Kearney, Department of Agriculture, addressing members of the seed trade
Cereal skills: Pictured at the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) cereal trials open day on the Ballyderown Farm, Moorepark, Fermoy are speaker Seamus Kearney, Department of Agriculture, addressing members of the seed trade
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

As combines begin to roll into fields in south Tipperary and west Cork, expectations for the cereal harvest have been revised upwards by at least 100,000t.

After a dismal start to the growing season, crops have surged forwards in the past six weeks, prompting Teagasc to predict a total harvest of around 2m tonnes for the country.

Teagasc cereals expert Jim O'Mahony said compensatory growth over the past month to six weeks had increased the yields of all crops since May.

"We had been predicting a harvest of 1.9m tonnes in early May but crops have improved a fierce amount and now we're looking at close on 2m tonnes," he said.

Mr O'Mahony predicted winter wheat yields of 9t/ha (3.6t/ac) and spring wheat yields of 8t/ha (3.23t/ac). For winter barley, he predicted yields of 7.7t/ha (3.1t/ac) and for spring barley he predicted crops of 6.3t/ha (2.55t/ac).

Growers in south Tipperary and the Kinsale region are the first to tackle the 2013 crop, with tillage men near Clonmel hoping to start cutting today.

IFA tillage chairman Noel Delany said the earliest crops would consist of early ripening six-row barley varieties such as Volume and Leibniz.

While the predicted higher yields will be welcomed by growers, they will fall short of the record yields achieved by growers in 2001, when winter wheat reached 10t/ha and winter barley reached 9.2t/ha.

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Offering

The extra volume of grain will be needed by farmers to compensate for grain prices that are €50/t lower than last year.

Dairygold's latest price offering was €137/t for green barley and €154/t for green wheat at harvest. Glanbia offered €145/t for barley and €155/t for wheat but those prices were for November.

Wheat prices on the international market rallied somewhat last week, with prices on the French MATIF market climbing by €7/t over five days.

The latest USDA report on global grain supplies, issued on Thursday, cut global wheat ending stocks for 2012/13 by 5.4m tonnes to 174.5m tonnes as a result of high feed demand from China (up 5m tonnes) and Europe (up 1m tonnes).

It also cut its estimate of US maize by 1.4m tonnes to 354.3m tonnes, although that still leaves the 2013 predicted harvest 80m tonnes higher than 2012.

It is this bumper US maize crop that is having the most depressing effect on world and Irish grain prices, although there are murmurings from international commentators that hot weather forecast for the US midwest could curtail the potential yields.

They have also warned that the USDA may have overestimated the Russian wheat crop, pegging it at 54m tonnes even though there is concern about potential drought in parts of the country. As a major exporter of cheap grain, any cut in Russian output could prompt grain price rises internationally.

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