Barley accounts for 57% of all tillage crops planted in Ireland
Barley accounts for over half (57%) of all tillage crops planted in Ireland, followed by wheat (19%) and oats (7%).
The finding was published in a report by Tillage Industry Ireland this week – an Economic Impact Assessment of the Tillage Sector in Ireland.
The study was prepared by Prof. Michael Wallace of University College Dublin (UCD).Also Read: Ireland has 4th highest land rental costs in Europe
Using average planted-area figures from 2104 to 2018, the report outlined that the main break crops – oilseeds, pulses, and potatoes – each comprised 3% of the tillage area, while fodder crops (maize, arable silage and beet) accounted for 8% of the tillage area. This can be seen in this info-graphic (below).
Changes in the national crop mix, between 1985 and 2018, are highlighted in this further info-graphic (below). The relative shares of barley, wheat and oats have remained broadly consistent over this period.
Areas of oilseeds and pulses have increased, while the area of potatoes has declined. There has also been a notable reduction in the area of tillage fodder crops over the last decade.
Spring versus winter sowing
The report also revealed that there has been a sharp decline in spring-sown cereals (wheat, barley and oats), as can be seen in this info-graphic (below).
The area of spring cereals declined sharply in the 1980s. It then stabilised during the 1990s and early 2000s. It dipped again in the mid‐2010s.
Improved average yields
The report also contains data pertaining to average yields – on a year-to-year basis (for winter wheat and spring barley). This info-graphic (below), while showing fluctuations associated with the variability in weather conditions, highlights that average yields have improved reasonably consistently.
From 1985 to 2018, linear growth in average yields for winter wheat was 81kg/ha/year. For spring barley, the corresponding figure was 63kg/ha/year.