Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Sowing gets going again with spring feel in the air

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Sowing of spring cereals roared ahead over the weekend as tillage farmers took advantage of the fine weather to set up to 50pc of the spring barley crop.

Farmers in east Cork and south Tipperary were ahead of the pack, with sowing under way by the middle of last week but they were joined by farmers further north over the weekend.

Teagasc tillage specialist Tim O'Donovan said around 20pc of spring barley had been sown in the traditionally early areas by St Patrick's Day.

This was significantly back on last year's spring season when up to half of the spring barley crop was in the ground by the same day.

However, Mr O'Donovan said that last year had been considered a particularly early one.

Speculation on the total acreage of cereals for this year's harvest continues, with spring wheat sales in the south on a par or, so far, even slightly above last year's levels.

Goldcrop's Donal Fitzgerald said the general feeling was that spring cereal seed was selling "surprisingly well" in the southern half of the country.

It had been expected that with winter sowing up, spring sowing would decline somewhat but, so far, this does not appear to be the case.

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Meanwhile, tillage conacre prices have increased by around €10-20/ac on average, according to auctioneers.

Top prices of €280/ac in Carlow and €227/ac in Wexford have been recorded, although both have been described as the exception rather than the rule.

Wexford auctioneer Denis Howell, from Warren Estates, said prices for tillage land had risen by €20/ac on average.

"The range would be €160-200/ac depending on the location and type of land," he said.

"Most guys already in a place and who don't want to get out just gave a bit with last year's price."

In Carlow, John Dawson said tillage prices ranged from €180-240/ac, representing a rise of up to 50pc on last year's average prices.


He quoted individual deals of €240/ac for 55ac in Leighlinbridge and a top price of €280/ac for one block.

Moving further north, however, the cost of tillage conacre was less expensive.

Kildare auctioneer Sean Doyle said prices for spring tillage land had started at €125-135/ac early in the season but moved upwards to €140-150/ac.

Prices for new ground were at the top end of this range, with 65ac in Athy priced at €147/ac, 75ac at Maynooth at €145/ac and a further 85ac at Rathangan closed at €140/ac.

Prices in the north-east are said to be around €150-160/ac, an increase of around €20/ac on last year.

However, public auctions of tillage conacre were few and far between, with most deals renewed from last year.

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