Total cereals production in 2010 was back 52,700t on the previous year to 1.93m tonnes, the end of year crop report from Teagasc has confirmed.
Happily for farmers, the drop was due to a smaller acreage rather than poor yields. Excellent harvest conditions and good growing during grain fill, meant overall tonnage was down just 2.7pc, even though the total acreage sown was back 11.4pc.
Meanwhile, renewed optimism in the sector, and strong forward prices for the 2011 harvest, resulted in a sharp increase in winter cereal plantings, with the area sown up 29pc on last year.
The total production of winter wheat last year was 510,000t, back 14,000t on 2009. Yields improved from 8.6t/ac in 2009 to 9.1t/ac last year.
The spring wheat crop was back 21,000t to 129,000t. An improvement in yields, from 6.8t/ac in 2009 to 7.6t/ac last year, meant the drop in production was just 13.6pc although the area sown to spring wheat was back almost 23pc.
In contrast, total production of winter barley was up 57,000t to 232,000t. Yields held close to the previous harvest's levels but the area sown was 31pc higher.
There was a 74,000t drop in spring barley production, with the total tonnage falling from 992,000t to 917,000t. Average yields rose from 6.0t/ac to 6.7t/ac.
The tonnage of winter oats held close to 2009 levels at 78,000t, while spring oats production fell by 4,000t to 67,000t.
Good harvest conditions meant that average moisture contents were low. The average moisture content for winter wheat was 17.7pc, with 18.3pc recorded for spring wheat.
The average figure for winter barley was 18.5pc, and 17.5pc for spring barley. The average for winter oats was 18.2pc and 18.6pc for spring oats.
Growers also benefitted from strong straw prices this year with and average of €110/ha. Spring wheat averaged €100/ha for spring wheat compared to €140/ha for winter wheat. Winter barley made €170/ha.