Fall in winter barley yields will cost tillage farmers €10m
The surprise drop in winter barley yields will cost tillage farmers more than €10m this harvest.
Early projections for this year's winter barley crop put average yields at around 3.3t/ac, around 0.5t/ac back on the 2016 harvest. Across the 150,000ac sown, this will result in a 75,000t drop in output.
The lower barley yield equates to an income hit of between €10m and €10.5m for grain growers at current green barley prices of €135-140/t.
Industry sources expect overall winter barley production to be back around 170,000t on last year since this harvest's lower yields have been compounded by a 26,000ac drop in the area planted to the crop.
Early prediction of the overall cereals harvest suggest that the total grain yield could be 260,000t lower than 2016.
Trade and IFA forecasts for the 2017 harvest put the total grain output at 2.04-2.05m tonnes. This is down from 2.31m tonnes for 2016 and 2.6m tonnes for 2015.
IFA grain committee chairman Liam Dunne said the disappointing winter barley harvest highlighted the serious difficulties facing the tillage sector.
"The reduced yields this year will result in significant reductions in income for embattled tillage farmers, and brings into sharp focus the necessity for a strong grain price," Mr Dunne said.