The harvest is ongoing in the north-east of the country at present. Spring crops such as barley, wheat, oats, oilseed rape and beans are still being cut in this region.

AgriLand spoke to Diarmuid Santry, an agronomist with Drummonds in the north-east, to see how the harvest is progressing.

Santry – who covers a wide area across the counties of Louth, Meath, Westmeath and north Dublin – was most worried about spring oilseed rape, which looks like it will be a while before it’s cut due to the weather of late.

He admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the crop, which can be risky for farmers to grow.

On the cereals front, Santry noted: “Quality is slipping at this stage. Beans were cut at 24% moisture content the other day and there is still a large area of the crop to be cut. Beans are yielding 1.7-3.0t/ac.”

Surprisingly ‘Mickle’ spring barley delivered to Drummonds on Tuesday had a moisture content of 19% and a KPH of 65. Yields are slipping but are still good and the majority of crops are yielding over 3t/ac.

Santry said that there are still crops of winter wheat to be cut in Co. Louth and sprouting is an issue in these crops – something that is also evident in spring wheat and barley.

Any remaining seed crops would be unutilisable. Thankfully we have all of our seed in.

Spring oats are proving difficult to harvest also and, while they are yielding approximately 3.5t/ac with a KPH of 52-53, there is no demand for the product.

Straw is proving hard to get in many areas as rain continues to interrupt the spells of drying. “The baling boys are busy today [Tuesday] where they can be,” Santry said.

The lack of demand for oats is reflected in the price – with reports of approximately €120/t for oats – while green barley is reported to be at €130+, wheat at €145 and beans fetching €155.

The weather outlook, according to Met Eireann, remains unsettled for the remainder of the week with mixed weather given for today (Thursday), following on from yesterday’s heavy rain. Showers are forecast for the end of the week and heavy rain is expected again on Saturday.

On the sowing front, winter oilseed rape is looking very nice and is progressing well. While winter wheat still remains to be harvested in parts of the north-east, it is being sown in other areas. Grafton and Torp have been sown already.

Torp is a new variety added to the ‘provisionally recommended’ list this year and is available from Drummonds; Santry expects the variety to yield very well, having watched it in fields since 2012.

Hybrid winter barley varieties are being sown at the moment in the north-east. Bazooka, Belfry and Quadra are making up the acreage of the winter barley so far.