33% of grain crop lost in West Cork

West Cork grain growers have lost 25-33% of their crop yields due to wet weather turning the harvest into a salvage operation.

Jim O’Regan, a large-scale local grower, said yesterday that it’s a disaster year for local growers, and follows last year’s local weather damage to a lot of Co Cork crops, as well as being the fourth year of low grain prices nationally.

The harvest has gone bad also for other tillage farms in coastal areas nationally, and throughout the north west, which has had more than 200 wet days so far this year.

In West Cork, either the crop is uncut or the straw has not been saved on thousands of acres, he said.

And winter cover crops which many farmers are required to grow cannot be planted, despite a two-week extension granted by the Department of Agriculture.

Spring barley crops have been worst damaged, with salvage grain yields typically cut 33% to about two tonnes per acre. The yield loss is typically about 25% in the other main crop, wheat. And grain being recovered this week was at 22-25% moisture, requiring expensive drying.

Meanwhile, IFA president Joe Healy has welcomed Agriculture Minister Michael Creed’s decision to convene a forum of tillage stakeholders. The forum will discuss potential solutions to the income crisis in tillage farming. The IFA is seeking a specific aid package for the sector, the development of a grain certification scheme, and to maximise the use of native grain and proteins in Irish livestock rations in support of Irish growers.

The IFA wants to measures taken to ensure that blackgrass, sterile brome and other harmful weed seeds are not inadvertently imported into the country. It is also seeking the abolition of tariffs and anti-dumping duties on fertiliser imports as fertiliser costs have increased significantly over the last decade.

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