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Monday 20 August 2018

Cereals harvest forecast to be 100,000t down on 2017

An overall harvest of 2.2 million tonnes is forecast for 2018 - down from 2.3 million tonnes last year. Photo: O'Gorman Photography
An overall harvest of 2.2 million tonnes is forecast for 2018 - down from 2.3 million tonnes last year. Photo: O'Gorman Photography
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

A 100,000-tonne drop in harvest yields is forecast this year as poor weather and low margins have resulted in less land being tilled.

The total area sown to cereals is back around 14,000ha or 6pc, according to provisional results from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications.

A major fall-off in plantings across most of the cereals crops was offset somewhat by increased sowings of spring barley and maize.

However, the BPS applications still show that the total area planted to cereals fell from 269,000ha in 2017 to 253,000ha this year.

The drop in sowings could result in a 100,000-tonne fall in the overall harvest at an average yield of 8.5t/ac across all the main crops. Last year's total harvest yield was 2.3 million tonnes. An overall harvest of 2.2 million tonnes is forecast for 2018.

Winter wheat recorded the most significant decrease, with the area sown falling by 11pc to 53,000ha. Spring wheat sowings almost halved, falling from 6,700ha in 2017 to 3,500ha this year.

Winter barley planting was also well back, dropping 13pc to 56,000ha. The area of winter oats dropped by almost one third to 10,000ha, while spring oats plantings were back 22pc to 7,700ha.

The one positive in terms of cereal sowings was spring barley, with the area planted increasing from 114,000ha to 122,000ha - a rise of 7pc.

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The poor sowing conditions this spring, and the fallout from the fodder crisis, resulted in a significant hike in maize sowings. The area sown to the crop increased by 40pc, rising from 11,800ha to 16,500ha. Fodder beet plantings were also up 9pc.

In contrast, the poor weather resulted in a sharp fall-off in plantings of beans, with the area of spring and winter beans falling from 13,000ha to 8,000ha.

The bad weather this spring has also hit potato sowings, with the area planted falling by 14pc.

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