Harvest update: Weather halting progress

Winter wheat and spring barley were the main order of business this week, with crops of winter oilseed rape and winter oats also being cut in small amounts.

Heavy rain in the south and thundery showers in some areas halted progress for some, while drying conditions were not ideal with heavy dew in the mornings and cloudy days.

Early indications from crops of winter wheat in drought stricken areas are from 3.5-3.9t/ac at moisture contents of approximately 20%. However, yields of between 4t/ac and 5t/ac are being achieved where rain fell in the summer.

Spring barley is ranging from 2t/ac to almost 3t/ac in the midlands. Early yield indications suggest that spring barley yields are not as bad as forecast, but it is early days and moisture contents are high.

On quality, skinning of grains is causing problems for many in counties Cork and Wexford. Malting quality is proving hard to reach this year. Crops are busheling well in a lot of cases with KPH readings between 64 and 66. High protein contents are also preventing malting barley from making the grade.

However, lower protein contents are being achieved, particularly on higher yielding crops, but other quality issues are causing crops to fail malting standards.

Yields as high as 4.1-4.2t/ac have been achieved in Co. Cork.

In a meeting with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) on Tuesday, August 11, Boortmalt reportedly assured the IFA that the company is in ongoing discussions with its customers regarding the parameters of the Irish harvest this season.

Boortmalt’s Yvan Schaepman (Group CEO) stated: “Boortmalt would be seeking derogations on specifications if required and where possible.”

Oilseed rape and oats

Winter oilseed rape yields in the north-east and midlands were satisfactory for many this season, reaching as high as 2.2t/ac. However, where crops suffered as a result of poor weather yields were dramatically lower.

Winter oats are one of the good stories of the harvest. 3.5t/ac is now a commonly reported yield as the majority of the crop has now been cut. Some crops reached up to 3.75t/ac.

However, with all yields it is important to remember that sowing conditions last autumn and winter were poor and while some crops yielded well there were still large variations in yield. Drought conditions this summer also had a massive effect on crop yields in many areas.