A steady week of harvesting has finished the winter barley harvest in most parts of the south. Reports of average yields suggest that later crops further north are commanding a slightly higher yield advantage.

The winter barley harvest is more than 70% complete in eastern, midlands and northeastern areas and is largely complete in the west and southwest. Growers further north have made a start to the harvest. However, many crops are still not fit to cut.

The winter oat harvest has commenced in parts of the south and reports suggest that the harvest is close to half-way complete in these areas. Few fields have been cut further north, although many will be fit this week. Initial reports suggest grain and straw yields are back.


Winter barley

Grain samples improved as the harvest progressed. Early maturing crops and those which have ripened rapidly due to the drought had high levels of screenings. However, as average KPHs increased, so did percentage screenings decrease.

Yields: updated reports from growers and from weighbridges suggest that average barley yields are ranging from 3.2t to 3.9t/ac, but these range from 1.8t to over 4.7t/ac.

Specific weights: average specific weights have improved as the harvest progressed. Specific weights ranging from 62 to 70 KPH are now commonly reported.

Moisture: on average, grain moistures are reported as low. Moistures as low as 10.2% have been reported, as have moistures as high as 20%. However, averages remain close to 15% to 16%.


The oat harvest is under way in many parts of the south, with just a few fields cut further north. Yields and moisture reports are mixed. Some growers expressed disappointment with yields, but are harvesting at low moistures. A 3.25t/ac crop at 13% is the equivalent to 3.5t/ac at 20%.

Yields: Yields are very mixed, ranging from 2.5t to 3.8t/ac. Crops which were sown after break crops or into fresh ground were reported as performing much better this year.

Specific weights: average specific weights are also varied, depending on a range of factors, including geography, soil type and variety. Weights are ranging from 45 to 55 KPH, with indicative averages in the region of 54 KPH.

Moistures: average moistures are also variable, ranging from 12% to 22%.


Winter barley straw yields have been reported as excellent, with yields in the range of 12 to 18 4x4 round bales/acre. Winter oats straw yields appear to be back slightly on previous years. In many cases, oaten straw, which would have traditionally been chopped, is now being baled due to the current market values of the crop.

Straw is still largely green at the time of harvest, so growers are leaving swards for a number of days to dry out. As a result, straw moistures are low. Further north, straw colours are ranging from golden to pink in colour as the straw is immature at the time of harvest. Further south the crop is whitish in colour due to the bleaching effect of the sun. Neither have implications for straw quality.

Prices are mixed, ranging from €20 to €30 for a 4x4 round bale from the field. However, average market value is indicating that the value of the crop is closer to €25/bale. That said, many growers have set a lower price for regular customers and a market value price for non-regular customers.

Harvest 18 summary table

Each week we will carry information from growers who provide us with updates of their harvest reports, as well as information from our field visits. This information is collated to produce the harvest summary table, which provides the range of values and an indicative average.

Grower reports

Each week we bring you a number of reports from field visits to growers, as well as from growers who have contacted us. Check out our Harvest 18 interactive map.

Winter Barley:

Barry Devereux

Drinagh, Co Wexford

11 July: Barry’s winter barley has performed well, ranging from 3.9t to 4.2t/ac. Straw yields were excellent, producing around 14 round bales/ac. Harvest is a week to 10 days earlier than 2017, but the yield penalty was much less than he had thought. The winter barley harvest was finished last week. Pictured is Barry harvesting infinity winter barley.

  • Yield: 3.9t to 4.2t/ac.
  • Moisture: 16.1% to 18.3%.
  • Bushel: 66-69 KPH.
  • Screenings: 3.5%-7.8%.
  • Straw: Very good yields.
  • Liam and Paul Dowling

    Mullacash, Co Kildare

    Dowling: Liam and Paul Dowling harvesting winter barley last week.

    11 July: Harvest began on the Dowling farm on 9 July, which is eight days earlier than 2017. “This is the earliest we have ever harvested winter barley”, explains Paul. Crops were looking reasonable all season, but the hot weather over the month has “burnt crops in”.

    Average yields were close to 4.2t/ac, but the Dowlings still had 70 acres of barley left to harvest. “The hot weather surely took a quarter of a tonne of the yield,” explains Paul.

  • Yield: 4.2t/ac.
  • Moisture: 14%-15%.
  • Bushel: 66 KPH.
  • Straw: Very good yields.
  • Richard Steadman

    Kilcara, Co Wicklow

    Richard Steadman: Pictured is Richard harvesting six row Bazooka winter barley.

    12 July: Richard was 50% through with the winter barley harvest last week and he was happy with crop performance thus far. Pictured is Richard harvesting six-row Bazooka winter barley. Bushels were ranging from 58 to 65 KPH, depending on the crop. Yields were averaging over 4.0t/ac between 16% and 19% moisture. Green grains were present in the sample. Straw yields were good and demand is very high. “It’s been a year of extremes,” explains Richard.

  • Yield: >4.0t/ac.
  • Moisture: 16% to 19%.
  • Bushel: 58-65 KPH.
  • Straw: Good yields.
  • Philip Ward

    Clonee, Co Meath

    Philip Ward: Harvesting a number of varieties such as Belfry, Bazooka and Cassia, Philips average yields ranged from 3.3 to 3.9t/ac.

    13 July: Average yields looked reasonable as Philip Ward passed the half way mark in the winter barley harvest last Friday. Harvesting a number of varieties such as Belfry, Bazooka and Cassia, yields ranged from 3.3t to 3.9t/ac, with moistures ranging between 15% and 20% and bushels between 15 and 66KPH.

    Philip was happy with his Belfry crop, as they averaged 3.7t/ac, but Bazooka came in at just 3.1t/ac. Straw yields were also reported as very good.

  • Yield: 3.3t to 3.9t/ac.
  • Moisture: 16% to 17%.
  • Bushel: 65-66 KPH.
  • Straw: Very good yields.
  • Michael Hoey

    Rathmooney, Dublin

    Michael Hoey: Harvesting all two row varieties, Michael expected the average yield to come in at around 3.5 t/ac.

    13 July: The record of the earliest ever start to the Country Crest harvest of 12 July 2004 was beaten this year as Michael began harvesting on Monday 9 July. Crops were ripe, but the straw still remained slightly green, so crops were left to dry before baling. Demand is very high.

    Harvesting all two-row varieties, Michael expected the average yield to come in around 3.5t/ac due to the hot weather over the past number of weeks. “Winter barley looked good all year round.” Bushels averaged around 66 KPH, with moistures ranging from 15% to 18%.

  • Yield: 3.5t/ac.
  • Moisture: 16% to 17%.
  • Bushel: 65-66 KPH.
  • Straw: Very good yields.
  • Philip Rice

    Lakescross, Co Dublin

    Philip Rice: Close to the half way mark with winter barley last Friday was Philip Rice, pictured harvesting Cassia winter barley.

    13 July: Close to the half-way mark with winter barley last Friday was Philip Rice, pictured harvesting Cassia winter barley. The harvest began on 12 July and yield has so far averaged 4.0t/ac. Bushels were around 65 KPH, with moistures around 17%. The sample was clean, with no de-awning issues. There was large swards of straw left behind the combine, but the straw was still slightly green.

  • Yield: 4.0t/ac.
  • Moisture: 17%.
  • Bushel: 65 KPH.
  • Straw: Very good yields.
  • Gerard Hickey

    Ardee, Co Louth

    Gerard Hickey:Growing a number of verities including Belfry, Tower and Cassia, average yields were ranging crop 3.8-4.0 t/ac.

    13 July: Harvest for the Hickey Brothers also got off to a record early start due to accelerated drying over the past three weeks. “The crop looked well all year, but dried up fast over the past three weeks,” explains Gerard.

    Growing a number of varieties, including Belfry, Tower and Cassia, average yields were ranging from 3.8t to 4.0t/ac. Moistures are low, but straw must be left to dry in the field for at least two days before they can bale the straw. "Straw quality is very good this year.”

    Gerard expects to be finished harvesting winter barley this week if the weather holds.

  • Yield: 3.8t to 4.0t/ac.
  • Moisture: 15% to 16%.
  • Bushel: 64-66 KPH.
  • Straw: Good yields.
  • Thomas Meehan

    Craigadoes, Co Donegal

    Thomas Meehan: The Meehan brothers began their 2018 harvest campaign on 12 July, 4 days later than in 2017.

    14 July: The Meehan brothers began their 2018 harvest campaign on 12 July, four days later than in 2017. Perched on early ground facing Lifford, the brothers were among the first in the northwest to start the harvest. Moistures were coming in around 17%, with the crop weighing well.

    Straw breakdown was becoming an issue as the ground is early but is also exposed. The varieties Bazooka and Volume were both sown in the field. Volume was noticeably breaking down quicker.

  • Yield: 3.6t/ac.
  • Moisture: 17%.
  • Straw: Good yields.
  • Oats:

    Barry Devereux

    Drinagh, Co Wexford

    Barry Devereux: Barry unloading his Infinity winter barley.

    11 July: Barry harvested his winter oats last week. The Husky crop yielded reasonably well considering the crop was harvested around three weeks earlier than normal. However, straw yields were back, which was not expected. “Straw yields wouldn’t have been near as heavy as the winter barley. I was expecting it to be heavier than what it was”.

  • Yield: 3.3t/ac.
  • Moisture: 17.7%.
  • Bushel: 55-56 KPH.
  • Straw: Lower than expected yields.
  • John C Byrne

    Clonmel, Co Tipperary

    13 July: John finished his winter oats harvest on 13 July, much earlier than a normal year. Yields were reasonable, as were straw yields. Demand for straw is extremely high in John’s area. “We would normally be getting those bushels when moistures were at 17%-plus, so we would have thought bushels would be higher,” explains John.

  • Yield: 3.25t/ac.
  • Moisture: 13%.
  • Bushel: 55KPH.
  • Your harvest reports

    Be sure to send us in your harvest updates and help us stay up to date with the progress of your harvest, as it happens. Send us your reports to srobb@farmersjournal.ie or tweet us at @FJTillage.

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