Winter sowings plummet in fringe tillage regions
A major fall-off in winter cereal sowings is being reported in the fringe tillage areas this autumn.
Merchants say plantings in west Cork, north Tipperary and west Waterford have been extremely slow this autumn, with the poor weather and low cereal prices undermining farmer confidence.
Donal Fitzgerald of Goldcrop claimed up to 10,000ha of winter cereals could be lost this year as a result of the late harvest and difficult weather conditions.
He said much of this could switch to spring crops, but he said the continuing low margins in the sector meant that the overall acreage would certainly be down.
This view was shared by Nigel White of Seedtech, who maintained that eventual area sown will be influenced by weather conditions over the next three weeks.
The total area of cereals sown has fallen by 140,000ac or 20pc in the 10 years, IFA has claimed.
Seed sales for winter crop sowings have been unusually quiet this autumn, with low grain prices and weather difficulties combining to hit sowings.
However, seed companies report strong sales this week in the core tillage regions. A shift to hardier varieties of barley and wheat has been a notable feature of sales patterns to date.