Harvest 2021 is under way, with the warm spell of weather in recent days and weeks allowing farmers in parts of the country to start harvesting winter crops.

Mark Browne – Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

The IFA grain committee chair said farmers are generally happy with this year’s harvest. He said yields have been a little variable, ranging from 3.25t to a strong 4t/ac for winter barley.

Moisture levels range from 15% to 18%, with very high kph levels of 65 to 67 recorded, he said.

In terms of straw, Browne remarked on the very good quality of this year’s crop. Markets are very strong and there is a want for Irish grain, he added.

Gavin Delaney – south Tipperary

The winter barley harvest is progressing well in south Tipperary, with 50% of winter barley already cut, Delaney reported. He estimated the rest of winter barley will be harvested by the end of the weekend. Yields have proven very variable so far, depending on varieties and field locations.

This year Delaney found his hybrid and conventional six-row winter barley did very well, reporting yields of 4t/ac. Moisture contents are all below 15%, with kph averaging 66 to 68 for conventional six-row varieties. However, he also said some farmers are disappointed with the yields of six-row varieties. Straw quality is good, with yields averaging nine round bales per acre, selling for €20 in the field.

Kieran McEvoy – Laois

The harvest has been under way in Laois since Monday, according to McEvoy. He said: “Progress has been slow, straw is heavy but in super order.”

Farmers in the area have been happy with yields, with Electrum two-row malting barley averaging 3.6t/ac. McEvoy said he feels his feeding barley will do better than his malting barley this year, as crops got more N and are on heavier ground.

He reported that straw yields have also been good. Moisture levels are at 13%, while the protein content is averaging 9%. Kph levels are ranging from 67 to 69, and this is expected to rise when harvest begins on the Cassia variety.

Bobby Miller – Stradbally, Co Laois

Bobby hopes to start harvesting his winter oats this week.

In terms of the winter barley harvest, straw yields are lower than expected at 10-12 round bales/acre and fields were cleared sooner than expected, he said.

The average price for a 4 x 4 round bale is €20.

Farmers are content, but were expecting higher yields, Miller reported, with winter barley yields averaging 3.6 to 3.8 t/ac.

Moisture content ranges from 13% to 15% and quality is good, with kph levels of 65 to 70 recorded.

Patrick Howard – Killavullen North, Co Cork

“We’re absolutely blessed with the weather,” Patrick began. The harvest began last Monday with the variety Pixel. However, Patrick believes it is not a great year for Pixel, with yields averaging 3.9t/ac and 13.9% moisture.

Valarie was harvested next, with excellent net moisture of 14% to 15% and excellent straw quality. Howard was very happy with the success of the Patriot variety, though it is not on the recommended list.

He found Kosmos to be the most successful variety of this year’s harvest, yielding 4.4 t/ac with a moisture content of 15%. In terms of straw quality, Pixel came out poorest, Patrick reported. The average kph is 62. With the current weather conditions, the biggest challenge this harvest is making the best use of labour between cutting crops and getting straw to farmers, Patrick said.

Derek Keeling – north Dublin

The winter barley harvest is progressing well in north Dublin according to Keeling. However, he said that while grain is ripe, straw is still quite green. Yields are averaging 4.5t/ac, with kph levels of 72 and 68 reported for Cassia and Jayou varieties, respectively. In terms of straw yields, crops are averaging four bales (8x4x4) per acre.

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