The country’s total tillage area is back 1% this year, while there has been an almost 30% decrease in winter cereals, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

The overall tillage area in 2024 is 334,450ha.

Department figures show the area of winter cereals stands at approximately 94,000ha, down significantly on the 2019 to 2023 average of 132,000ha.

However, there has been approximately a 10% increase in spring cereals to 168,954ha this year, bringing the total cereal area to within 3% of last year’s total.

The area of non-cereal crops has risen by 5% to 71,500ha. This includes protein crops, beet, maize and oilseed rape.

There has been a 20% increase in the area of protein crops - which includes peas, beans and cereal/crop mix - to over 21,000ha. Maize area has also increased by 20% to over 23,000ha.

These figures are based on Basic Income Support for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) applications in 2024 after the closing date for amendments on 31 May.


Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said these crop area figures are “positive” given the pressures tillage farmers have been under over the last two years.

“The prolonged period of very wet weather since last autumn gave rise to significant challenges for tillage farmers in getting crops planted for this year’s harvest.

“This follows what was also a very difficult harvest year for tillage farmers in 2023.

“Despite the difficult backdrop, over the last four years, the overall crop area has increased by almost 21,000ha or 6%,” he said.

The Minister added that it is Government policy to increase the national tillage area.

“We know that a vibrant and sustainable tillage sector is hugely important in increasing our food and feed security, while also contributing to our climate change objectives,” he said


The results of a recent fodder survey carried out by Teagasc indicate that 25% to 30% of dairy and drystock farmers currently have fodder deficits exceeding 10%.

The sourcing of whole-crop cereal silage and other forage crops from tillage farmers can be an effective way of increasing the fodder supplies, along with making more grass silage, Minister McConalogue said.

He added that livestock farmers are also encouraged to engage with tillage farmers to book straw early to ensure sufficient supplies for feeding and bedding.

While overall straw yields are expected to be higher than 2023, stocks are depleted from last year.

“I am a strong supporter of the tillage sector. I believe it has huge potential and I am committed to delivering on this potential,” the Minister said.