Crops in 2016: Significant losses on individual farms

Overall 2016 production of cereals, estimated at slightly over 2.28m tonnes, is 7% lower than the five-year-average, according to the Teagasc Harvest Report.

The total cereal area fell 4.9% in 2016, compared to 2015.

Grain production is estimated at a little over 2.2m tonnes, down from 2.6m tonnes in 2015.

A 5% reduction in the planted area, combined with poor conditions over the winter, a later spring, poor weather at flowering for winter wheat and spring barley, led to reduced grain production.

And harvesting difficulties, particularly in the west, resulted in significant losses on individual farms.

Although harvesting conditions were generally relatively good across the country, the coastal counties from Wexford, through Cork, up to Donegal all had very poor conditions which delayed harvesting.

Areas most affected include south Cork, Kerry, Galway and Donegal. Midland farmers were also affected.

In these areas, later planting, a more diverse crop mix (due to CAP greening rules), early season lodging, straw breakdown, and grain sprouting all contributed to grain and straw losses in the field.

In spring crops, grain losses ranged from 50% to 100% (unable to harvest). Similar straw losses were experienced.

Grain quality in general was slightly lower in 2016, while grain skinning and higher grain protein in malting barley was a particular problem for many growers.

For the fourth year in succession, the world produced a bumper grain crop, adding further to world grain stocks resulting in downward pressure on Irish crop prices.


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