Harvesting starts with 4t/ac barley

Caitriona Murphy

Winter barley yields of 3-4t/ac, at 16-19pc moisture, were recorded by the few farmers who were able to start harvesting last week.

The crops were mainly on light soils and grain quality was good, at 66-69kph, according to Teagasc.

However, for the majority of growers, harvesting of winter crops is running seven or 10 days late and the lower temperatures forecast for this week will certainly push it back into the last week of this month.

This year's harvest is expected to reach 2.2m tonnes, up 10pc on last year, the Teagasc tillage specialists have predicted.

The total area planted to cereals is up almost 7pc, or an additional 19,000ha, compared with last year. The increase is driven mainly by the increase in winter wheat area (up 25pc) and barley area (up 21.5pc).

Pricing is also on a go-slow, with buyers and sellers watching fluctuations on international markets.

However, broker prices for Irish new-crop grain prices finished last week stronger than they started. October prices for dried wheat and barley rose from €188/t and €193/t respectively early last week up to €195-196/t for both.

Industry commentators say weather events around the world and concerns about the US maize crop in the forecasted high temperatures will continue to be the main driver of feed grain prices in the coming weeks.

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In southern Europe, harvesting is progressing well and recent rains across much of Europe have seen crop yield forecasts revised upwards.


French analyst Strategie Grains has raised its forecast for EU production upwards by 6.6m tonnes, to 282m tonnes. Wheat production estimates have also been revised upwards by 4.6m tonnes, to 130m tonnes, an increase of 2.9m tonnes on last season. Most of the additional 3.3m tonne estimate will be produced in France, Germany and Britain.

European barley production has also been revised upwards, but to a lesser extent -- rising by 0.7m tonnes on last month's estimate.

Meanwhile, the weakening euro will bolster the competitiveness of European grain for export, but Russia is still trying to buy back favour after last year's export ban by selling at extremely heavy discounts.

The most recent cargoes of Russian wheat have been sold for $30/t (€21/t) less than European grain and $50/t (€35/t) lower than US wheat.

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