Wet weather impacting harvest progress

The wet weather of the past few days has put a complete stop to harvest progress. Large amounts of rainfall will no doubt have a big impact on quality and ease of cutting as time moves on.

Crops which were almost ripe now face an unsettled week. Some will be at risk of breakdown and more at risk of sprouting.

That dreaded germination test on malting barley will also be a worry, but hopefully the weather turns before crops advance to these stages.

At present, Thursday and Friday, August 16 and 17, look like possible harvesting days, while the weekend looks unsettled, according to Met Éireann.

Up to now, quality was looking good and farmers have been happy with spring yields.

Protein contents in malting barley crops were also low – a sign of the weather of the season gone by and of the conscious decision people made to cut nitrogen application and meet malting specs in the spring time when price looked like it might justify the reduction.

Rainfall levels

Looking at some of the weather stations across the tillage region, Casement Aerodrome received the least amount of rainfall at 31.8mm over a four-day period from August 8 to August 11. Cork Airport received the highest amount of rainfall of the stations listed at 55mm.

Data source: Met Éireann


Straw will be another issue. Those lucky enough to cut in the short window of Wednesday night and Thursday, August 7 and 8, of last week – before the rain – did not all get their straw baled.

If wet weather persists straw will become more difficult to save. This may help to move what is on the ground. So far a number of factors have slowed straw movement in parts of the country.

Some farmers have been holding off waiting for a price drop. Many tillage farmers have turned on the chopper where they have not been offered a fair price. Other beef farmers have also held off on buying straw as they await the outcome of the beef talks this week.