Most tillage areas received 1” of rain over the weekend,” according to Teagasc crops specialist Michael Hennessy.

“The fact that the rain fell on dry soils means that most of the surplus water should seep away pretty quickly, without impacting on the prospects for the harvest timetable,” he said.

“But a period of further rain and wind could change this state of affairs quite significantly.”

Hennessy confirmed that 25% of this year’s spring barley harvest had now been cut.

“Growers seem to be happy with the yields they are getting,” he said.

“This seems to be an overarching theme to this year’s harvest with both winter barley and oilseed rape crops having already performed particularly well.

Drogheda-based Teagasc tillage advisor Conor Dobson said that early spring barley crops in the north east had delivered yields of between 2.5t/ac and 3t/ac.

“But the vast bulk of the spring barley acreage in this part of the world has yet to be cut. Growers are very pleased with crop performance across the board up to this point.

“Winter barley crops, in particular, had not looked that well back in the spring. But the extended grain fill period, which was afforded by the cooler than normal temperatures, had acted to boost final yields.”

Dobson confirmed that many wheat growers in the north east had previously sprayed off crops with the intention of getting them harvested last weekend.

“A number of those crops may well have been combined on Saturday evening past,” he said

“Those that weren’t should dry out pretty quickly. This is one of the benefits associated with the pre spraying of cereal crops.

“Growers have a window of between 14 and 15 days to get crops combined, once they have been treated with Roundup. After that, yield losses can become a factor in the event of rain or strong winds.”