Teagasc tillage advisors are surmising that Ireland’s winter barley acreage might be well back in 2022/2023, relative to previous years.

The matter was discussed in the most recent issue of the Tillage Advisory Newsletter.

Essentially, with autumn drilling already having started, the jury is still out about how much winter barley will be planted in the coming season.

Teagasc’s Shay Phelan commented:

“On the back of some outstanding yields, the area of winter wheat looks to be fairly secure. And the same principle holds for winter oats.

“With many reports of spring barley out-yielding its winter counterpart many growers may opt to switch.”

But Teagasc is also highlighting the advantages that winter barley brings to a tillage enterprise. These include: Spreading the workload; extra straw yield; an earlier start to the harvest.

So the accompanying advisory message is – don’t discount the crop just on the back of one bad harvest.

Choice of winter barley

Where winter barley is concerned, Irish farmers are fortunate to have quite a lot of choice between two-row, six-row and six-row hybrids.

All have their own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding on a variety, yield is often the deciding factor.

But straw strength and the disease resistance profile can often add hidden costs that can be more important than the yield rating.

KWS Tardis will be the most popular variety this year and has a good overall package. Casting performed well for many this year, while Bordeaux is the new variety available.

In terms of six-rows, Belfry is the most popular, while KWS Joyau offers barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) tolerance for those who are worried about aphid damage, which was a significant issue in 2022.

Where wheat is concerned, the variety choice is much narrower in that Graham and a new variety called Dawsum will make up 79% of the total seed available.

This is primarily due to the poor performance of many of the newer varieties in their ability to resist septoria infection. In oats, Isabel and Husky are all that are available, with Barra finally having being dropped after more than 30 years on the list.