Winter cereal acreage set to soar

A poll at today’s (Tuesday, September 11) National Crops Forum, held by Teagasc, showed that just 2% of farmers in attendance plan to reduce their acreage of winter cereal crops this season.

53% of farmers intend to increase the acreage of winter cereals sown, while 28% expect to sow the same acreage of winter cereals as they did in 2017.

The move by growers is no doubt a result of the poor performance of spring crops this season, as well as the poor sowing conditions available for planting these crops – the majority of which went in a month, if not six weeks, later than usual this year.

If the current dry soil conditions continue into sowing time, growers plan to make the most of the weather. High grain and straw yields from winter crops are also adding to the increase.

Low seed supplies

However, farmers are advised to get seed orders in as early as possible. The impact of this year’s weather has affected yields of seed crops and this, coupled with the expected increase in planting, is resulting in lower seed supplies.

Earlier today, Donal Fitzgerald of Goldcrop advised customers to get seed orders in early in order to avoid disappointment – adding that the popular variety KWS Cassia is already sold out to merchants.

Drop in all winter cereal crops last season

Preliminary figures from the Department of Agriculture show that 253,000ha of cereal crops were grown in the 2017/2018 season. That’s a reduction of 6.8% from 2016/2017.

Drop in planted acreage of winter cereals from autumn 2016 to 2017:
  • Winter barley – 14%;
  • Winter wheat – 12%;
  • Winter oats – 31%.