Harvest potential hampered by rain
Incessant rain could cut harvest yields by up to 1t/ac as wet weather diseases and poor grain fill take their toll.
IFA grain chairman Noel Delany said disease pressure on cereals crops across the country would cut their yield potential significantly.
With more rain forecast for the coming week, Teagasc tillage expert Jim O'Mahony said it was shaping up to be a very difficult harvest.
"Disease levels are threatening yeilds in all our cereals crops, while there is growing concern about the amount of crops lodged and tossed," he said. "Crows and pigeons are a big problem in those lodged crops," he added. "Crops were at a very vulnerable stage when we got very heavy rain and that has resulted in massive lodging in some fields of good crops," he explained.
"Between 10-20pc of oat crops are badly tossed or lodged, while up to 10pc of winter barley is lodged," he said. "Spring barley fared much better, with less than 1pc of crops lodged."
Blotch diseases, rhynchosporium and blight-type diseases are reportedly on the increase in crops, while poor grain fill due to dull, wet weather is cutting yeild expectations.
Harvesting of the first crops is set to be delayed by at least 10 days due to the record levels of rainfall last month.
Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures released on Thursday confirmed that the 2011 harvest was 23pc higher than 2010 at 2.5 million tonnes but Teagasc estimates show that the area sown to cereals this year increased again by almost 40,000ac.