Teagasc estimated yesterday that 80% of grain remained unharvested.
Normally, only 20% of grain crops would be uncut at this stage.
Jim O’Mahony of Teagasc advised growers to harvest if possible, even if moisture content is high.
IFA national grain committee chairman Noel Delany said that many growers face significant financial losses, and national grain production will be at least 500,000 tonnes short of crop potential, due to bad weather reducing grain fill, shedding, and straw breakdown.
“What had looked like a bumper 2.6 to 2.7m tonne grain harvest six weeks ago could quickly turn into a salvage operation if the weather does not take an immediate turn for the better.”
He estimated that less than 6% of spring barley and 1% of winter wheat had been harvested.
“Parts of many, if not all, fields may be left un-harvested,” he warned.
Livestock farmers can use damp grain as feed, after preserving it. But they also face consequences from a possible Irish harvest disaster, because global grain prices are very high due to drought hitting crops in the US.
Christopher Mahoney, head of agriculture at Glencore, one of the leading global grain traders, warned this week that US grain export will be less than predicted by the US Department of Agriculture. He compared the American drought to the dust bowl years of the mid-30s.
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