The Department of Agriculture released its spring cereal and beans recommended lists last week. However, many growers may not have a choice of what varieties they plant due to a seed shortage.

The Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) now estimates there is enough seed to plant approximately 168,000ha of spring cereals and beans. However, Teagasc estimates 35,000ha of winter crops were not planted, and this area of spring seed is estimated to be short.

As a result, Teagasc is encouraging farmers to continue to plant Irish winter wheat seed until mid-February where possible. Other options, like forage crops should also be looked at.

The ISTA, Teagasc, the Department and the IFA are engaging to alleviate the problem.

A derogation on germination percentage has been granted from the European Commission for Irish seed, while some imports have also been sourced, which comply with European standards, but will not comply with Ireland’s higher voluntary standard which ensures seed is free of grass weeds.