Strong outlook for winter barley but straw volumes forecast to collapse
Exceptional winter barley yields, serious concerns for late-sown spring crops, and a collapse in straw volumes, is the mixed forecast for this year's harvest.
As combines started rolling in east Munster this week, Michael Hennessy of Teagasc predicted very good yields for winter crops, but he cautioned that yields from some late-sown spring crops could be well back.
He also forecast a 20-25pc fall-off in straw volumes, with the expected output falling by around 1.5 million 4x4 bales.
Traditionally the harvest produces between 7m and 7.5m 4x4 bales of straw, but this year's total output is forecast to be in the 5.5m to 6m bales range.
Mr Hennessy said winter barley and winter wheat has "very good yield potential", with winter barley crops coming in at least 10 days early.
However, he cautioned that winter wheat sown on lighter ground had started to burn badly.
The dry hot weather is also taking a toll on winter oats, with more modest yield expectations for the crop.
"Winter oats never like this weather," said Mr Hennessy.