Tillage farmers in Ireland had mixed fortunes this year, despite record yields, according to Teagasc’s Michael Hennessy.

“The grain quality is excellent, this is not an issue, even some of the crops cut last week were of excellent quality.”

However, the Teagasc Head of the Crops Knowledge Transfer Department said that tillage crops in the southern part of Ireland did not yield as well as crops further North.

“You could nearly draw a line across Ireland, the yields below Clonmel were not exactly record, but there were no great quality issues.”

“The reduced yields in the south were most likely as a result of higher rainfall levels at critical stages of the year,” said Hennessy.

This increase in yield and quality is primarily down to the cool weather conditions of 2015, which allowed the crop to fill for a longer period of time, said the Teagasc tillage expert.

“Crops were sown around the same time as 2014, but the cool year has allowed for a longer grain fill. The warmer the temperature the quicker the crop will ripen.

“In a cool year the crop doesn’t realise the harvest is approaching so cell death or ripening is extended,” said Hennessy.

According to the Teagasc specialist, approximately 20% of tillage crops still have to be harvested, with pockets of spring barley and wheat yet to be combined, while the majority of Oilseed Rape, beans and peas are still standing.

He added that farmers in Donegal are facing an extremely difficult harvest as a lot of crops are left to harvest, especially spring barley.

Donegal have been very hard hit this year, farmers are facing difficult conditions as crops are ripe but they are unable to harvest them.

However, he added that last weekends dismal weather did not impact greatly as a lot of crops came through it unharmed.

Sprayer course places still available ahead of November deadline

The deadline to become a trained and registered professional user of pesticides with the Department of Agriculture is November 26, 2015.

Under new legislation, all farmers must be trained and registered by this date. Farmers can do so by doing a boom sprayer course and then registering with the Department.

There are still places on a number of courses which vary from one day to three days with prices ranging from €200 to almost €400.