Cereal production increased in 2017 despite drop in acreage

The estimated value of output from the cereal sector increased by 5.2% last year, when compared with 2016 levels. 2017 output from the sector was estimated at €242.8 million – up €12 million from 2016.

These figures come from the ‘Output, Input and Income in Agriculture Preliminary Estimate‘ report, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today.

The total value of output from crops – including cereals, forage and other crops – decreased by 0.1% from €1,769.8 million in 2016 to €1,768.1 million in 2017. Forage plants include: silage; hay; sales of cereals between farms; and cereals used on-farm.

These figures also come in a year when the total tillage (land) area fell by approximately 10,000ha (in 2017) to 270,000ha.

Record yields

The increase, despite the reduction in land area, may be due to the record yields achieved last season. According to Teagasc, the average across all cereal crops increased. Record yields of spring barley were achieved – reaching 7.8t/ha.

Increased spend

Spending on commercial feed-stuffs increased by 5.6% to reach €1,426 million. Fertiliser expenditure for the whole farming sector increased by 0.8% from 2016 levels and totalled €513 million. Interestingly, the volume of consumption increased by 12.8% during the same period.

Energy and lubricant costs also increased in 2017; they grew by 6.1%. This coincided with an increase in oil prices.