Cereal growers will not be cutting winter wheat crops before August 20, according to Teagasc tillage advisor Shay Phelan.

“That’s a week behind what would be regarded as the normal schedule. I was talking to a grower in North Dublin earlier today, who intends burning off his wheat in about a week’s time. So it will be a further 10 days before the combines can be put in to those fileds.

“Most tillage farmers will now burn off wheat crops with glyphosate as a matter of routine. It is an approach that will increase grain dry matters while, at the same time, killing-off all grass weeds.”

Phelan confirmed that one benefit of the cooler than normal summer temperatures is the longer grain fill period afforded to wheat crops.

“But the down side to all of this is the shorter harvest window that will be available to farmers come the last days of August.

“Wheat crops are looking well at the present time. Despite the changeable weather of recent days, crops are relatively disease-free.”

Commenting on the winter barley harvest Phelan said that crops in the south of the country are now over ripe.

“Getting the remainder of these crops harvested now must be a priority for tillage farmers. The other issue to be factored in is the increasing moisture levels of crops coming off the combine at the present time.

“In some cases this could be well over 20%. In such cases drying of the grain will be required. This comes with a significant penalty at two levels: the reduction in yield and the costs associated with the actual drying process.

“Grain destined for long term storage should be dried down to at least 17% moisture. And it could cost up to €50 per tonne to reach this level with those barley crops currently coming off the combine at around 23% to 24% moisture.”