Cereal area down but harvest expected to be sizeable

TEAGASC predicts a 2010 grain harvest close on 1.9 million tonnes.

The cereal area is down 11%, but Teagasc advisers hope that grain tonnage will fall only down 4% from 2009, if the weather remains favourable.

For the small proportion of winter barley cut so far, quality has been excellent, and straw yields are good. Yields have been satisfactory, averaging 8.5 tonnes per hectare.

Teagasc advisers report high potato blight pressure, with stem blight in many areas. But yields and quality were acceptable to good in earlies, now all harvested, and in second earlies, harvesting of which is in full swing.

Meanwhile, Irish growers hope they will benefit from reduced wheat market supply due to drought across much of Europe.

However, large wheat stocks in store across the northern hemisphere, including record stocks in the US, mean there should be no fundamental market fears about supplies.

But prices could be boosted on the demand side also, due to drought feed shortages as near as Britain. For many British livestock farmers, first cut grass silage yields were down 20 to 30%, and as much as 50% in the second cuts in late June.

Hot weather has kept cows indoors, increasing the price of straw for bedding has risen about 65%. France has authorised farmers to use set-aside land to feed animals, because of looming feed shortages.


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