Area sown to winter cereals down 10pc
Sowings of winter cereal crops are back almost 10pc compared to last year, Teagasc has estimated.
The area sown to winter cereals over the last three months is believed to be around 123,000ha. This represents a drop of almost 13,000ha on last year's sowings of 135,800ha.
Michael Hennessy of Teagasc said it was difficult to accurately predict the area planted given the difficult sowing conditions this autumn. "Seed sales have been strong but you don't know whether it all got into the ground," he said.
The Teagasc specialist said winter sowings went to schedule in Carlow and Cork, but more challenging conditions in Wexford and Meath meant that just 80-85pc of crops were planted.
Mr Hennessy predicted that the late sowings will hit winter barley yields next harvest as some crops were not sown until the end of October. He maintained that a switch from winter barley to spring barley had skewed the planting figures to an extent.
He claimed overall cereal sowings for the 2018 harvest will be back by 2pc to 5pc on 2017 levels.
This would equate to a drop of between 5,000ha and 13,000ha, and see the total area sown to cereals drop to between 250,000ha and 258,000ha.
The latest Teagasc crop report has put the total yield from this year's harvest at 2.3m tonnes.