As winter barley crops continue to come in across the country, prices are remaining at stubbornly low levels with yields also slightly back on 2013.

According to Teagasc tillage specialist Michael Hennessy: “The price is certainly disappointing at the moment. Barley is trading in the range of €130-€138/t for green grain.”

“There really is noting to hold the price up at the moment. Every bit of market related news is good news, which is bad news for the tillage farmer.”

According to latest figures from EU Commission’s crop monitoring unit (MARS) barley yields in the EU-28 are forecast at 4.54 MT/ha, slightly below 4.85 MT/ha in 2013, although still 1.2% up on the five-year average.

Hennessy noted that: “A bit of a lift was seen on grain markets following the plane disaster in the Ukraine. But the rally only lasted two or three hours before the price fell off again.”

Straw is also slow moving at the moment. He said: “There is a huge volume of fodder out there now and that has put pressure on the straw trade with demand weaker.”

In terms of yields Hennessy said: “Depending on the part of the country you visit. It’s slightly back in some places and yet there are plenty of other guys getting 4t/ac.

“I would say the average is 3.5-3.6t/ac at up to 20% moisture. It’s very hard to know where the average is yet this year. The harvest is still away off completion in many counties.

“There a lot done in the South with places like Kilkenny, Cork and Wexford coming to the end. But, further up the country there could be 50% yet to be done in places.

“Yields are unlikely to be as good as last year. But you must remember last year was a record year for winter barley. At a guess at the moment I would say it will finish above average.

Hennessy outlined that there is a lot of tillage farmers putting their winter barley into storage. He noted: “When it’s not going over the weighbridge and into mills in great quantities it’s difficult to get a fully accurate assessment of the yield.”