Harvest at crisis point as moisture levels plummet
Variable yields and very low moistures are being reported by growers as harvest activity has spread north over the last few days.
Although crops of winter barley have yielded up to 4t/ac in the south, poor grain fill has seen yields dip as low as 2.5-2.7t/ac in some instances.
The best of the yields to date appear to be in the south, with growers in Tipperary reporting that two-row varieties of winter barley are yielding 3.6-3.7t/ac at around 14-15pc moisture, and bushelling in the region of 60-64kph.
Yields in the Laois/south Kildare area have not been as strong, according to Bobby Miller of the Irish Grain Growers Group. He said crops in the area were averaging 3-3.2t/ac.
The harvest started over the weekend in Wexford. The early indications are that crops are generally doing around 3.5-4t/ac, with moistures at around 15pc.
North Kildare grower Helen Harris said that the harvest had just kicked off locally over the weekend.
She said it was too early to give accurate estimates of the yields but moisture content was low at 13-15pc.
On a positive note, Ms Harris predicted that straw yields could be better than expected.