Only 'top 10pc' of cereal growers will break even
Only the top 10pc of cereal farmers are likely to break even on their crops this year as prices weaken further.
Quotes for green barley this autumn have fallen to €118/t, or €10/t lower than last year.
However, cereal experts believe the record yields that cushioned the price drop last year will not be back for harvest 2016.
"Only the top 10pc of growers will make any money beyond their CAP payments on rented ground this year," said Goldcrop's variety manager, John Dunne.
"We had averages up around 4.5t/ac last year in winter barley, and even more the further up the country you went. That's what saved us last year."
The Cork native believes that temperatures that soared above 19°C during May this year made it too hot to create another record-breaking harvest.
"Winter barley still has a bit of time on its side, but plant numbers are down, there was a bit of water-logging earlier in the year, and there's a nice bit of disease around now.
"The heat in May actually thinned crops out, with a layer of smaller tillers down at the base of the crop. I've seen spring barley crops where the yield potential is down at 2.5t/ac," he said.