Yields of wheat and spring barley on NI cereal farms during 2021 were the highest on record, according to figures published by DAERA.

A post-harvest survey of 235 growers found that average wheat yield was 8.22t/ha and spring barley averaged 5.99 t/ha. Compared to 2020, wheat yields increased by 27% and spring barley yields are up 6%.

The 2021 yield estimates for both crops are the highest on the department’s database, which runs back to 2007. This year’s figures reflect the favourable growing season for cereals and the almost ideal conditions at harvest time.

The survey also found that winter barley averaged 7.54 t/ha during 2021, up 15% year on year, and the average yield of oats rose by 7% to 5.83 t/ha.

In June 2021, the total area planted in crops in NI was 46,461 ha. This was 2% higher than 2020 and was the largest crop area recorded since 2017.

Wheat production is 37% higher than in 2020 and stands at 63,600t

The spring barley area was up 3% to 12,898 ha, winter barley rose 2% to 7,944 ha, wheat increased by 8% to 7,734 ha and oats was virtually unchanged at 1,874 ha.

Higher yields and a larger area planted led to increased cereal output from NI farms this year. Estimates from DAERA put total barley production at 137,200t, up 12% year-on-year.

Wheat production is 37% higher than in 2020 and stands at 63,600t, while oat production is up 7% to 10,900t.

However, in the potato sector, yields, acreage and overall production all fell in 2021.

DAERA figures show that average yields of maincrop ware and seed stood at 34.33t/ha, down 3% on 2020. The total area in potatoes fell by 7% to 3,468 ha and total production decreased by 9% to 118,400t.