The year gone by was a difficult one in most farming sectors

Tillage farmers were hit on all fronts, with weather affecting planting and yields and prices declining, while input costs remained high.

Here is a summary of the area of crops planted, the national average yield of those crops and the production of those crops, according to the Teagasc Harvest Report for 2023.

Planted area

Winter cereal area declined in 2023 by an estimated 34,800ha. That was immediately going to hit overall production figures for the country, as winter cereal crops yield more than spring cereals.

Spring cereal area increased by 16,600ha. Spring barley area increased by 15,300ha and spring oats area increased by 3,600ha. However, spring wheat area declined by 2,300ha.

Winter oilseed rape area increased by 6,000ha (41%), while spring beans area increased by a massive 5,600ha, an increase of 60% in the year.

Yields and production

Average yields declined for all crops listed, aside from winter barley, which held steady at 8.7t/ha (3.5t/ac).

Spring barley yield declined dramatically from 8.1t/ha (3.28t/ac) in 2022 to 6.4t/ha (2.6t/ac) in 2023.

It should be noted that these are average yields, estimated by Teagasc. Many farmers will have lower yields and higher yields than those specified.

Overall, the decline in yield led to a decrease in production for the country. Cereal production was estimated to be down from 2.42m tonnes in 2022 to 1.93m tonnes in 2023. That’s a decline of 492,500t or a 20% decline in total cereal production.

Spring bean production increased by 41% due to the increase in area, despite a decline in yield from 6.1t/ha (2.5t/ac) in 2022 to 5.4t/ha (2.2t/ac) in 2023.

Winter oilseed rape production also increased due to an increase in area. The average yield was down from 5.1t/ha (2t/ac) in 2022 to 4.4t/ha (1.8t/ac) in 2023.

Production was estimated at 86,000t in 2023, compared with 70,000t in 2022. That’s an increase of 16,000t or 23%.

See the full results of the Teagasc harvest report for 2023 in Table 1 below.