2019 saw a 20% increase in Ireland’s cereal harvest over the previous year. In a report published by Teagasc, it is estimated that the production of cereals in 2018 increased by 373,000t in 2019, to a total of 2.2m tonnes.
The large increase is partially due to the drought experienced in 2018, but a combination of excellent sowing conditions last spring and a favourable growing season led to the highest recorded average yields of spring barley at 8.0t/ha.
According to the report, the previous record of 7.8t/ha was set in 2017. Demand and price for straw decreased in 2019 from the previous season.
Cereal area decline has halted
The Department of Agriculture has reported that the decline in cereal area experienced in recent years has stopped and the figure remains at 261,000ha from 2018.
Favourable planting weather in autumn 2018 saw an increase in winter cereal of 27%, which in turn led to a record area of winter barley at 81,400ha, leaving the area under spring barley to fall to 94,600ha.
Due to the high rainfall, it is estimated that the winter cereal area for 2019/2020 is 50% lower than 2018/2019. The most affected counties are in the northeast, with some counties as low as 30% planted, while southern counties have fared better with up to 80% planted in Tipperary. This will result in a big increase in spring barley area for harvest 2020.
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