Plan seeding requirement now to secure best varieties
Grain growers will need to get in their orders for autumn-sown crops soon if they want to get the latest varieties most in demand.
Already, the popular winter oilseed-rape variety, Excalibur, is virtually sold out, as the overall acreage of OSR is expected to take another huge leap.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see an increase of 50pc in the acreage of winter OSR sown over the coming weeks," said Donal Fitzgerald, general manager at Goldcrop and president of the Irish seed trade association.
Despite the fact that winter OSR acreage has effectively doubled in the past number of years to its current 9,000ha, Mr Fitzgerald believes there is scope for further expansion in the crop.
"It has been the star performer of the harvest so far, with most growers averaging €350-360/t between forward and spot selling," he said. "There's 32,000ha of sugar-beet after falling out of the system and growers are only now developing the confidence in the crop.
"Up to now, growers were more confident with winter wheat. It is a high-input crop, so it was considered a bigger risk than the traditional crops such as barley or wheat. But with winter OSR now able to deliver a similar margin to winter wheat, there is real momentum behind the crop."
The most popular varieties listed on the Department of Agriculture's recommended list are Osprey and Flash.