Harvest to salvage for many growers

Profit margin analysis at last week’s Teagasc Crops Forum 2016 indicated that growers on owned land needed a 9.8 tonnes per hectare crop of barley to break even this year, an 8.8t crop of oats, 3.4t of oil seed rape, or a 9.9t crop of wheat.

And losses could mount now, because later sown and later maturing crops, particularly on heavier soils, have started to break down after torrential rain and heavy winds.

Ground conditions are becoming problematic in some areas, added IFA national grain committee chairman Liam Dunne this week, as the harvest turned into a salvage operation for many growers.

In some regions, 25%-30% of grain crops are uncut, with the West, North West, and North worst hit.

“Crop losses will mount with each passing day, and this will add to an already deepening income crisis for many growers,” said Mr Dunne.

He asked the grain trade to support farmers.

At last week’s Teagasc Crops Forum, advisers also warned of rising debt levels on farms, estimated to have reached €82,461 on average in 2015 on the 39% of tillage farms which have debts. This compares with only €40,000 in 2002.

At the Crops Forum, farmers were warned shortage of cash can force any business out of operation, and they should monitor their ability to meet financial obligations in the short term.

By 2019, the average tillage farmer will lose 8% of his or her EU direct payment due to the ‘internal convergence’ process agreed in the CAP reform.

  • Tomorrow is the new deadline to apply to the Department of Agriculture for a two-week extension, up to September 30, 2016, for planting catch crops.

IFA sought this extension, and Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said it will ease pressure on farmers struggling to complete delayed harvest operations.

The catch crop planting date remains September 15 for farmers not availing of the extension.

Most farmers who opted to use cover crops to satisfy EFA requirements (in 2016) are obliged to sow cover crops this autumn, before September 15, and about 1,500 tillage farmers in GLAS require catch crops.


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