The area of spring barley is set to decline further in 2016, according to Teagasc.

In its update on the estimated winter crop areas for 2016 it said the autumn of 2015 has been very favourable for drilling winter crops.

Consequently, it says the area of winter cereals is estimated to have risen slightly for harvest 2016 to 146,000 ha.

Teagasc says the reason for this trend of increasing drillings of winter barley is due to the 2/3 crop rule and its reliable performance in recent years.

It says the area of winter wheat has risen this autumn, most likely due to the favourable drilling conditions but also due to the high yields in 2015 and price differential over barley.

According to Teagasc, it is likely that the area of spring barley will decline further in 2016 to balance most of the increased winter cereal area.

The area of spring barley fell once again in 2015 to 132,400 ha, mainly as a result of the 2/3 crop rule.

winter crops

It said winter crops have enjoyed relatively good conditions since drilling and it has been an excellent autumn for plant establishment with the majority of crops having very high plant counts.

Winter barley crops are quite advanced (gs 23-24) while winter wheat crops are generally at gs 13/21. Winter oilseed rape crops have established very well with significant canopies after developing.

Teagasc says there have reasonably sufficient opportunities for weed and aphid control and the majority of crops are now sprayed, except later drilled crops and heavier fields.

Since mid-November, there has been a ‘normal’ level of slug feeding in winter wheat and growers are advised to continue to monitor crops at risk, it says.