Farm Ireland

Friday 20 April 2018

Crops 'hammered into the ground' in the west

Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Tillage farmer Eamonn Bourke has lost over 100ac of his barley and oats yield due to sudden torrential downpours in Galway.

The devastating loss is set to cost him more than €40,000.

Speaking to the Farming Independent, the Corrandulla-based farmer said the heads of his crops were "completely hammered into the ground".

"There is nothing left, nothing can be done. We've no product and it's purely down to the weather. I've never seen anything as bad as this before and I've been in tillage all my life," he said.

"It's very stressful. You put in all your effort over the year and 60pc of it has been wiped out," he said.

Mr Bourke is calling on the Government and farming organisations to set up a compensation fund to ease the blow.

"This is an emergency situation with serious financial losses. It's a disaster and an emergency fund should be put in place.," he said.

"I spent the weekend driving around in the combine but it was more of mental exercise so I know I tried. But there wasn't one grain in the trailer behind me," he said.

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Nationwide, an estimated 75,000ac of this year's total harvest remains to be cut, the IFA National Grain Committee chairman has warned.

Tillage farmers are still struggling to salvage up to 15pc of cereals, beans and spring oil seed rape due to poor weather conditions.

The worst affected areas include: the north west, west coast, north west midlands, south west and coastal areas in east Cork, right down into west Cork.


Liam Dunne, National Grain Committee Chairman of the IFA, said tillage farmers in Donegal are really struggling.

"In Donegal, 55pc to 60pc of the cereal harvest remains to be cut. Ground conditions have deteriorated rapidly and some fields or parts of fields may not be harvested this stage," he said.

In Galway and Roscommon, up to 35pc of crops have not yet been harvested, with a similar situation in Kerry and across into west Cork.

Limited progress was made on the harvest over the weekend with poor weather impeding progress in western counties, parts of the midlands and also along coastal areas in east and west Cork.

Saturday turned out to be the best day for cutting before rain and coastal fog returned on Sunday. Moistures varied from 20pc to 27pc.

"Overripe crops are breaking down badly with full heads on the ground."

"Recent and incessant heavy rains have flattened many crops into the ground and there is limited chance that these will be harvested unless there is a dramatic improvement in weather for at least a week," said Mr Dunne.

Total cereal harvest for this year currently stands at an estimated 2.1m tonnes - a significant reduction on last year's total harvest of 2.6m tonne. Mr Dunne says prices for wheat will settle over the next fortnight. However, some "special spot deals" on winter barley are priced between €130-€135 per tonne.

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