Miscanthus yields are back by 40pc due to 2018 drought
Crops grown on light and dry tillage soils have been hardest hit
Miscanthus yields are back around 40pc this year due to last summer's drought.
Crops that would typically yield 5-5.5t/ac are yielding around 3t/ac in the current harvest, Paddy O'Toole from Quinns of Baltinglass told the Farming Independent.
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Mr O'Toole said crops grown on light and dry tillage soils were hardest hit by the drought. However, he said yields from heavier ground were also well back. Crops grown on heavy land that usually yielded 4.5t/ac were giving 3-3.5t/ac this spring.
Harvesting is well under way across much of the south and east, with around 65pc of the crop cut, Mr O'Toole said. However, progress has been disrupted by last week's poor weather.
Quinns are paying €80/t for baled miscanthus ex-field, at moisture levels under 20pc.
Meanwhile, Mr O'Toole welcomed the European Commission's recent approval of the Government's Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH).
He said the scheme had the potential to create "real opportunities" for growers of biomass crops.
A recent study for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) found that straw at €60/t, or willow at 55pc moisture and priced at €38/t could compete with imported biomass or woodchip from forestry as a fuel source. Similarly, the study noted that miscanthus could be competitive as a possible fuel source.