The 2019 harvest report, published by Teagasc today, Monday, December 2, estimates that the production of cereals was 2.2 million tonnes in 2019.

This represents an increase of 373,000t (20%) from the drought-hit harvest of 2018, according to the figures.

Teagasc reports that overall cereal crop yields – and quality – were good, despite some broken weather for harvesting in August. A combination of excellent sowing conditions last spring and a favourable growing season led to the highest recorded average yields of spring barley, at 8t/ha (3.24t/ac).

The previous record of 7.8t/ha (3.16t/ac) was set in 2017. Demand and price for straw decreased in 2019 from the previous season, the figures show.

Teagasc states that based on recent information from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the decline in cereal area experienced in recent years has stopped. Teagasc calculates that the cereal area remains unchanged from 2018, at 261,000ha (645,000ac).

However, the “dynamic” of the cereal area changed, with a 27% increase in winter cereal area from 2018 to 2019, mainly as a result of favourable planting weather in autumn 2018.

This, according to Teagasc, resulted in a record area of winter barley at 81,400ha (201,000ac).

As a consequence of this, the area under spring barley fell to 94,600ha (234,000ac).

Teagasc says that the quality of grain harvested this year was “excellent”, with high hectolitre weights and low screenings.

Although the demand for straw was lower than in 2018, most of the straw baled were in good conditions.

Current estimates indicate that the winter cereal area for 2019/2020 is 50% lower than 2018/2019 due to high rainfall in the autumn, which hampered sowing operations.

According to Teagasc the counties most affected by this are in the north east, with some counties as low as 30% planted. Southern counties, on the other hand, have fared better, with up to 80% planted in Tipperary.

This will result in a big increase in spring barley area for harvest 2020, Teagasc predicts.

The full Teagasc Crops Report for 2019 is available here.