75% of spring cereals drilled but potato area down

Teagasc advisers reported last week that up to 75% of spring cereals had been drilled, and February sown barley was already at the one-leaf stage (growth stage 11).

Initial indications were that the spring cereal area will be similar to 2011.

However, the news was not so good for potato growers, with poor prices and slow demand. As a result, many growers are forced, or will be forced, to reduce acreage this year, according to Teagasc advisers.

Their earlies under plastic or fleece were now well emerged. Second earlies were being planted, but grower sentiment suggested the acreage will continue to decline again this year.

Main crop planting will start in the earliest sites shortly, but many growers were holding for soil temperatures to warm further.

Thanks to excellent soil conditions in many areas, a small acreage of fodder beet had already been planted up to last week. Drilling of more fodder beet and of spring oilseed rape and maize, was expected to start shortly.

Sowing of kale will commence in early April.

However, seed sales would suggest a higher area of these alternative winter forage crops is sown each year, according to Teagasc.

CSO official figures show annual area of 2,600 hectares of kale and rape.


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