Teagasc forecasting lowest Irish cereal sowings in a lifetime
Ireland's cereal crop in 2013 could be the lowest in a lifetime, according to Teagasc estimates.
Grower disenchantment with 2012 harvest yields, a scarcity of seed in both Ireland and Europe, as well as a sharp drop in autumn plantings have combined to slash the acreage of winter cereals.
Teagasc tillage expert Jim O'Mahony has predicted a total cereal harvest of just 256,000ha for 2013, 20pc lower than last year.
Winter wheat has taken the biggest hit in area terms, falling from 83,000ha in 2012 to just 45,000ha this year. This 38,000ha fall is the biggest contributor to an estimated 50,000ha reduction in total cereal sowings.
Winter barley sowings have fallen from 40,500ha to 30,000ha, while winter oats is down from 6,000ha to just 4,000ha.
While weather conditions have delayed spring sowings, it is expected that spring barley will increase from 149,000ha in 2012 to around 156,000ha in 2013. Spring wheat is forecast to fall from 13,000ha last year to 10,000ha in 2013, while spring oats are forecast to reach 8,000ha.
The 50,000ha fall in total cereal output is set to increase the level of grain imported into Ireland this year, while prices will be determined by grain supply and prices outside Ireland.