Progress needed to get through harvest backlog

Virtually no harvest progress was made last week, leaving 50%-80% of grain unharvested nationwide, depending on location, according to growers.

However, delayed ripening of spring crops has prevented grain spoilage in the field, and this week’s improved weather will allow progress.

With about one third of the malting barley crop harvested up to this week, low protein in some key producing areas of the midlands has emerged as a problem.

IFA said spot dried barley prices were somewhat lower last week, ranging from €156 to €158/t, with €158-162 on offer for November collection.

Dried wheat for spot collection was trading at €170-€172, or €173-€175 for November collection.

Deals on green barley at 20% moisture (excluding VAT) were reported by IFA at €134-€142, with free haulage of larger lots. Green wheat was trading at €8-€12 over barley.

The global background is record high grain supplies in the 2015/16 season, according to the International Grains Council.

IFA National Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said grain prices for the third year in a row are insufficient to cover production costs, and the already serious income situation is aggravated by onerous greening requirements and a significant cut in basic and greening payments.

He blamed bureaucratic requirements and lack of control of speculative investment in farm commodities and of fertiliser cartels for a fall in cereal production of nearly 90,000 acres since 2012.

n Following a recent meeting with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, Mr Dunne welcomed a commitment from the minister to pursue a TAMS scheme for grain farmers with the EU Commission in Brussels.

He said this will require an amendment to the Rural Development Programme to deliver a TAMS scheme for tillage farmers that will support investment in storage and drying facilities and equipment and technology to boost on-farm efficiencies at what is a difficult time for grain growers.

Mr Dunne said, “It’s very important to have the scheme up and running as soon as possible as these measures will help to improve the long-term competitiveness of the sector”.

He also welcomed a commitment to introduce a Knowledge Transfer scheme in 2016.


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