Cereal crops and potato production estimated to fall in the North this year

Production levels across all of the main cereal crops and potatoes is estimated to fall in the North this year, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Meanwhile, a fall in yields is also expected across the board in 2016 with adverse weather conditions throughout the year playing a major role, it says.

The 2016 estimates for cereal yields were obtained from a post-harvest survey of 235 growers in Northern Ireland.

Potato estimates were derived from a survey involving pre-harvest digs covering potato crops on approximately 75 farms.

Total Production Of Barley Has Fallen

The total production of barley has decreased to approximately 125,000t, a fall of 11%, DAERA estimates show.

The overall area of barley grown this year decreased by 2% compared to 2015 levels.

But within this, the area of spring crops decreased by 6% while the area of winter crops increased by 9%.

Source: DAERA
Source: DAERA

Total barley production has fallen due to the reduction in the area of spring barley grown as well as lower yields for both winter (6.8 t/ha) and spring (5.0 t/ha) crops.

Compared to 2015 figures, yields of both winter and spring barley have decreased by 12% and 9% respectively.

Weather conditions throughout this year’s growing season adversely affected crop development, it says.

A Fall in Yields For Wheat, Oats And Potatoes

With regards to wheat, production levels fell by 6% compared to 2015 figures to 60,000t.

Despite the area of wheat grown increasing by 8%, to reach similar levels as 2014, a 13% fall in yields to 7t/ha outweighed the extra area, resulting in a fall in production.

This year the total production of oats remained relatively unchanged from 2015 figures at 12,100t.

Yields decreased by 9% to 5.4t/ha this year, but this was compensated by a 9% increase in the area of oats planted to 2,300ha.

In 2016, the pre-harvest production estimate of maincrop ware and seed potatoes is 129,700t, a 2% decrease from the previous year.

When the early varieties were included in the total pre-harvest estimate, production also decreased by 2% to 131,300t.

This year the area of potatoes planted in the North increased by 4% to 3,700ha while yields fell by 6%.

Provisional results from DEFRA also show that total UK yields of barley, wheat and oats have all decreased compared with 2015 figures.

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