Teagasc confirms record cereal yields for 2015

Teagasc will shortly confirm that Irish tillage farmers enjoyed record cereal yields in 2015, according to the organisation’s crops specialist, Tim O’Donovan.

“The figures are being finalised at the present time,” he said.

“But it is already apparent that 2015 has been a record year for cereal growers.  I can also confirm that the area of winter cereals for 2015/16 has increased. Again, official figures will be forthcoming over the coming weeks. But we are looking at year-on-year increases in the region 5% to 15% .”

O’Donovan said that the growth in the winter cereals cropping area can be attributed to a number of factors.

“In the first instance, the 2015 harvest was undertaken with both weather and ground conditions fully in growers’ favour.  This then allowed new crops to be sown out in almost perfect conditions.

“The subsequent dry weather allowed high levels of crop establishment to be achieved. Initial Teagasc surveys indicate that establishment rates of up to 70% have been achieved on many farms this autumn.

“The new CAP greening measures are forcing specialist tillage farmers to look at new crop rotation options.

O’Donovan confirmed that seed quality is excellent this year.

“This is also helping to maximise establishment rates,” he said.

“At this stage of the season the only winter cereal crops left to be sown out are those following maize, beet and potatoes.  For the most part, these will be winter wheat. But some growers in the Cork area will still consider barley at this time of the year.”

Commenting on the development of the winter crops sown out over recent weeks, O Donovan said that the excellent ground and growing conditions have been a tremendous bonus for tillage farmers.

“It has been the best October ever for establishing crops

“Phoma levels have increased to some extent in rape crops. Flea Beatle damage is also on the increase with some defoliation of crops evident. This is a direct consequence of the EU-wide ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments, which was introduced in the autumn of 2014.

“The larvae, which follow, have the potential to do significant crop damage, if numbers are sufficient. But the use of an insecticide should be considered on a farm –to-farm basis.

“All cereal crops are growing well. An added  bonus for farmers is the fact that excellent levels of weed control can be achieved at the present time.”