Teagasc is forecasting that Ireland’s cereal output for 2022 will come in at around 2.3 million tonnes – a ‘no change’ scenario, relative to last year.

This prediction is based on the, now available, basic payment scheme (BPS) application data and the progress made by crops up to this point.

According to Teagasc, crops are full from hedge to hedge with no bare patches. They are also filling well and, thus have good potential. 

Although soils are dry, with soil moisture deficits are running from 30-40mm, the recent rain should be sufficient to fill crops to their potential.   

Average yields are estimated to be above the five-year average yields for all crops. The only exception is winter barley which has thinned out in recent weeks and is not as promising as earlier in the year.

Tillage area and cereal crops

Meanwhile, the BPS application figures, released by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) show an overall increase of 6% in the main tillage area compared to 2021.   

The relevant crop breakdowns are as follows:

  • Spring barley – up 616ha;
  • Winter barley – up 6,297ha;
  • Spring beans – up 650ha;
  • Winter beans – up 410ha;
  • Fodder beet – up 259ha;
  • Spring oats – down 1353ha;
  • Spring oilseed rape – up 65ha;
  • Winter oilseed rape – up 4,490ha;
  • Peas – up 80ha;
  • Early potatoes – down 14ha;
  • Maincrop potatoes – down 383ha;
  • Seed potatoes – up 28ha;
  • Rye – up 1416ha;
  • Sugar beet – down 23ha;
  • Spring triticale – down 151ha;
  • Winter triticale – up 42ha;
  • Spring wheat – up 645ha;
  • Winter wheat – up 4,267 ha.

The total area cropped in 2022 comes in at 350,699ha; this is a 6% increase on the 2021 figure of 330,910ha.

Teagasc is also confirming that potatoes are growing well now, where moisture is available.

Disease and environment

Those crops that have not been irrigated and are in dry conditions are at a high risk of common scab infection.

Blight levels have been low in the last few weeks but with significantly higher rainfall forecast in the coming weeks, blight pressure will increase so growers should be advised to keep timings tight.

The latest crop update from Teagasc includes a reminder to tillage farmers that Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme contains specific measures to protect water from nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources.

One of the important changes concerns the establishment of green cover on stubble ground. 

Essentially tillage farmers are now required to take measures to establish green cover as soon as possible post-harvest to protect groundwater from nitrate pollution.  

Specifically, the regulation states that in all circumstances, shallow cultivation or sowing of a crop must take place within 14 days of harvesting and – in many cases – within seven days.

These matters were discussed in some detail among cereal growers attending the recent Drummonds’ Agronomy and Crop Open Day.

Very strong views were expressed to the effect that the new cultivation requirements are not practical.

Teagasc has also noted that DAFM is actively looking at these measures, in order to see if further clarity can be issued around their exact implementation in various tillage circumstances.