Ballygar, Co Galway
The weather, the cost of inputs and the price of grain made it a tough year for Conall and all farmers. He is happy to have got 75% of what he had planned to plant this autumn in the ground, which did not look possible a few weeks ago. He was also delighted with the output of his new combine, and says he was blessed to have it in the wet harvest.
Going forward, he hopes to plant less spring crops and is also open to taking more land in reseeding deals rather than leases.
Kildalton, Co Kilkenny
‘A perfect storm’ is how Damien describes this year for tillage farmers. It has been one thing after another for the past 12 months.
He says the weather has been horrific, with both wet and dry conditions affecting him. However, he says that you have to be optimistic things will get better at some stage.
Damien is pleased that the winter barley has emerged well on the farm, but there are still wheat and oats to plant, as well as maize to harvest.
Bunclody, Co Wexford
The lows are sticking out for Patrick when reviewing the year rather than the highs. He says that failing to get winter cereals planted last autumn put him on the back-foot from the beginning, but that he cannot complain too much when he sees photos of unharvested crops and other fields under water.
However, the last couple of fields to be cut were very broken down, so it is difficult to be upbeat about the year.
Seaforde, Co Down
The dry February led to excellent conditions for planting beans, and applying fertiliser and sprays. The weather took a turn for the worst in March and April, disrupting fieldwork.
The June drought affected Neill badly on his light land, before the rain returned to create a difficult harvest. However, he says that all the challenges this year were out of the farmer’s control, from input costs to the weather.
While he will be cautious on input spending next year, he notes that fertiliser and sprays are needed to produce a good crop.
Castledermot, Co Kildare
The increased spring workload for the O’Gorman brothers, because of a wet end to 2022, was further delayed until the end of April by persistent rain. The immediate change from too wet to too dry in June seems to have hurt yields a lot in Kevin’s area.
The potatoes were planted six weeks late in some cases, and they did not enjoy the wet, dull summer either. Harvesting is continuing, but it is also becoming a struggle.
Tullow, Co Carlow
Jack is happy to have his off-farm income this year, even if it is becoming more demanding to balance this and the farm workload. While the agroforestry and multispecies sward went well this year, the cereal crops disappointed.
Jack took a two-pronged approach to selling his grain this year, through an established buyer, and also through exploring new markets with new people to see what opportunities lie ahead in the next number of years.
Cashel, Co Tipperary
It was a challenging year from start to finish for Mark. He says that January and February were too dry, and we paid for it for in the rest of the year.
While yields were average, the uncontrollable weather and prices hurt farmers. He will see what the cost of fertiliser is next spring, but he will probably plant more beans and spring oats, and try to keep the rotation right on the farm.
He says that the Government, co-ops, and merchants need to support farmers now after a very tough year.
Street, Co Westmeath
The harvest finally finished for Alex last week with the maize, but the tow chain was in high demand throughout. It was a fitting end to what Alex describes as the toughest harvest he’s seen.
The harvest was exceptionally long, over three months, and most crops suffered from a lack of sunlight throughout the summer.
Alex will maximise the amount of organic manure he can import next year. He sees it as a way to combat high prices and take some control over input costs.
Limavady, Co Derry
It was a frustrating year for Alistair. Despite the crops looking well earlier in the year, they just did not yield.
He was happy that a crop rotation was implemented this year, instead of continuous barley.
Barley had consistently yielded 4t/ac on the farm for many years, but it has started to fail recently, with an average this year of 2.8t/ac. He does not know whether the weather or a lack of chemistry is causing this.
Balbriggan, Co Dublin
The rain and a drought have both been big issues for Tony this year.
He has not got as much winter planting completed as he would have liked, and the maize harvest is a struggle, with average crops and a lot of damage from storm Babet.
Selling maize this year has been more difficult, with many farmers having lots of silage and opting for cheaper imported grains.
Tony says that these market dynamics have to change, and it brings into question the double standards of the EU, in terms of domestic food production versus imports.
Slane, Co Meath
After a tough year in Meath, Eamonn says that the best thing to do now is to park it and move on. Yields were ok, everything was harvested, and all winter barley and wheat were planted.
Whether all of this grows is yet to be seen. The focus next year will be on trying to reduce expenditure, but this is not easy to do. The mood in the sector is very low, and the recently announced supports have done little to improve this.
Shanagarry, Co Cork
John summarises this year as a battle. From October 2022 up to now, there has never been a let up. John is glad that it was still a relatively good year on his farm, with a reasonable profit margin and little to no land damage.
John is very aware that many growers are having a difficult year and says farming is not an easy occupation, but we stick at it because we love it. He urges farmers to have a simple chat with a friend or get away from the farm for a day-trip or short break, to try to distract from the current difficulties.