Almost 90% of winter barley crops have been harvested in the Kilkenny/Tipperary area, according to Brett Brothers’ General Manager Sean Brett.

“The poor weather has now brought a halt to all harvesting activities,” he said.

“But the combines were rolling in the south east right up to Sunday evening past. As a consequence most tillage growers in the region got most of their winter barley in store over the weekend with some also making a start on the winter oats’ harvest.”

Brett confirmed that winter barley crops have yielded well.

“Some growers are reporting record yields but the average seems to be in the range 4t/ac t 4.5t/ac. The initial indications are that oat crops are also yielding well.

“And, certainly, some of the initial crops samples that I have seen are of excellent quality. We supply Flahavans with the oats that are used in a range of breakfast cereals.”

However, Sean Brett is not quoting a price for either new crop barley of oats.

“It’s still too early to give a definitive perspective on new season prices,” he said.

“It will take a while yet for the market to settle.”

Brett also confirmed that the first of this year’s winter oilseed rape crops are ready for harvest.

“My concern is that most of these crops would have been sprayed off some days ago. The current wet weather may well have a serious impact on final yields as the rain will encourage individual plants to shed pods and seeds.

“No doubt, growers will be pushing to get on with the rape harvest as soon as the weather improves. All of the rape we buy is traded on, either to local crushers or the poultry industry in Northern Ireland.”

Drummonds’ agronomist Dermot Meehan said that the winter barley harvest will only get underway in the Co. Louth area this week.

“Ground conditions have not been affected to any great extent by the recent rain. So I am expecting growers to push on between the showers as the week progresses. Initial reports are that barley crops are yielding well.”