Fears over yields as harvest gets rolling
Farmers count cost of sodden summer as south starts cutting
Harvest 2012 began in earnest over the weekend, with growers in the south of the country starting cutting.
While tillage farmers have welcomed the improved weather conditions, it is already too late to reverse the damage done to yields.
Winter barley crops harvested so far in the south are yielding 2.9t to 3.2t/ac at 20pc to 22pc moisture.
Overall, the winter barley harvest is expected to be down 30,000t or 10pc on last year's crop. IFA grain chairman Noel Delany said heavy rainfall, unusually low temperatures and poor sunshine levels had taken their toll on crops.
"On a per acre basis, the tonnage could fall from 3.6t to 2.8t," he predicted.
Six-row varieties appear to have taken more of a hit than the more traditional two-row varieties, according to agronomists.
Unlike their southern counterparts, growers further north are reporting very difficult soil conditions, with waterlogged tramlines in fields.
The harvest is already running up to a fortnight late in many cases and a prolonged dry spell will be needed before land in the midlands and other areas will be fit to carry combines and machinery.