An impressive crowd of over 300 people turned up to Corrin last Friday for the Dairygold tillage conference. They were treated to a positive afternoon of facts and information.

Robert Coleman was one of the stars of the show. A son of Billy, he had to learn how to talk almost as fast as his father drives to fit in all of the great information on changes being made on the family farm to improve sustainability.

Cork and Teagasc man Ciarán Collins provided the figures on the day, stating that the production costs on a 3t/ac crop of spring barley went from €89/t in 2006 to €212/t in 2023, and are expected to be about €171/t in 2024.

Fertiliser costs were just €18/t in 2006, compared to €89/t in 2023, but are set to decline to €51/t in 2024.

I hear Eoin Lowry of Bank of Ireland said that 1t of wheat could buy you 50 barrels of oil 40 years ago. In 2023, 1t of wheat would buy you just four barrels.

The Dairygold harvest price for feed barley was €105/t in 2006 and €200/t in 2023. The increase in costs was not cancelled out by the increase in harvest price, but on a positive note it looks like it could be in 2024.