Teagasc has told the latest meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee that it is not predicting a bumper cereal crop harvest this year.

Teagasc tillage specialist Shay Phelan said that this is despite the total tillage area increasing by 6%, according to Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2022 data.

“There are a lot of irons in the fire at the moment. We predicted about a month ago that we’ve about 2.3 million tonnes [total cereal harvest] which is in and around our average for the last number of years.

“So that points to it not being a bumper harvest, but hopefully it will be somewhere a little north of that,” he said.

Phelan noted that there are concerns among tillage farmers about a recent fall in grain prices and an estimated 20% increase in the cost of harvesting, due to diesel, labour and machinery parts.

He said that most tillage farmers are happy with their 2022 crop but there is a lot of nervousness about next year’s harvest due exposure to high input costs and the availability of fertilisers.

Phelan noted that winter crop planting had increased by 11% prior to the announcement of the Tillage Incentive Scheme (TIS).

He said the area planted with spring barley had only increased by less than 1% compared to 2021.

The area of protein crop area grew slightly by 1,100ha, with an unprecedented increase of 410ha for winter beans.

Phelan said that maize was up by 9% or 1,281ha on last year and following a decline in recent years, fodder beet increased by 3% this year.

In terms of the harvest progress, he noted that with less than 10% of winter barley harvested, yields have been mixed. However, he was hopeful that this would improve as stronger crops are cut.

The Teagasc specialist explained that it was still too early to determine the impact of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) on the yield of spring barley, which has yet to be harvested.

The meeting heard that there was “good potential” in winter wheat crops due to good disease control.

Phelan also advised farmers who want straw to use in diet feeders to book it early as the area for the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) has increased this year.


Meanwhile, Michael Moroney, chief executive of the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI), said a survey of their members has shown that silage pits are “fairly full” following first cut silage.

“In the southern half of the country the second cuts are okay but as you go up further the second cuts are tending to be a bit lighter,” he stated.

On the early grain harvest, Moroney also said that yields on winter barley “aren’t as good as people would have expected” at this early stage.

Moroney also said there appears to be “a certain amount of fertiliser” left in storage on farms as it was not used during spring.

“The contribution of the trailing shoe and the dribble bar system in terms of fertilisation has been significant this year and has been noticed by our contractors in the silage that they’ve cut.

“So that has been a lesson in terms of the use of nitrogen (N) and maybe there will be more judicious use of it in the future based on the results of this year,” he said.

Noel Feeney, president of the Agricultural Contractors’ Association (ACA), said that members are reporting that the picture on the ground was “very positive” in terms of the levels of fodder being saved.

However, he sounded a note of caution about the impact of weather on grass growth, particularly in the west of the country.