Could 2017 be a year of record cereal yields?

Record yields of winter wheat and barley could become a reality in 2017, according to Teagasc’s Head of Crops’ Knowledge Transfer Michael Hennessy.

This comes with the proviso that the weather plays its part over the coming months, he said.

“I can confirm that winter cereal crops were sown out in excellent condition, germination rates were all that we could ask for and emerging crops were sprayed in perfect conditions.

“We have had very little rain over the past number of months. But it is the conditions that prevail as we get closer to harvest that determine grain yields in this country.

“In essence, we need rain when it is required for crop growth and decent conditions to allow the harvest progress in the required manner.”

Ditch to ditch crop cover at this time of the year certainly creates the potential for heavy yields later in the year. But this has to be fully realised come harvest.

Co. Down cereal grower Allan Chambers said that he had never seen winter crops looking as well at this time of the year.

“I have seen no evidence at all of crops being under stress.

“The same trends are apparent on most farms in this part of the world. And, on the basis of a normal weather pattern impacting throughout the 2017 growing season, then we can look forward the possibility of record wheat and barley yields being achieved later in the year.”

Meanwhile, Teagasc has confirmed that a series of spring tillage seminars will be held over the coming weeks, starting in Athy on January 18.

“The Knowledge Transfer Scheme has provided a lot of detailed information on the financial performance being achieved by tillage farmers,” said Michael Hennessy.

“We have had the opportunity to analyse this information in some detail and the trends identified will be discussed in detail at the upcoming seminars.

“There will also be a strong focus on the main costs incurred by tillage farmers: machinery, land, fertilisers and sprays.”