Improved conditions helps winter sowings bounce back

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A major recovery in winter cereals sowings over the last week has resulted in a massive clearance of dressed seed stocks.

But the delay in plantings could have a major impact on the winter barley acreage, particularly in areas with heavier soils.

There were mounting fears that plantings of both winter barley and winter wheat for the 2018 harvest would take a massive hit as farmers struggled to get crops sown due to the disastrous weather over the past three months.

 However, improved conditions over the last 10 days has resulted in a total turn around in fortunes.

 “We had a shed full of seed last week, but a lot of stuff is gone out since,” said Drummonds’ agronomist Frank Glynn.

But he explained that while the picture had improved, he insisted that progress in sowings varied geographically. Mr Glynn pointed out that a lot of winter barley had been sown in the north Kildare, north Dublin and south Meath region. Sowings were also well advanced in Louth, but progress was much slower in north Meath, he said. “Farmers had to get straw cleared, and the soils in the Navan and Kells area are heavier,” he explained.

Winter barley

Mr Glynn predicted that the area sown to winter barley could take “a big hit” because of weather conditions.

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He said some growers were switching to winter wheat, while others were opting for spring barley.

Both Pat Ryan of Liffey Mills and Kilkenny merchant Jimmy Brett said sales of winter barley seed were back marginally.

Mr Brett said sowings of winter wheat were down on last year, but he pointed out that planting of the crop will continue for at least another fortnight.

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