Just 62% of tillage farmers said the planned winter cropping area was in the ground up to mid-January, a Teagasc survey of tillage farmers has found.

The east of the country is worst affected (Figure 1), with Kilkenny, Tipperary and Wexford having just 55% of the planned area planted.

Teagasc commented that Wexford looks to be the worst hit county here, while farmers in Louth, Dublin, Meath and Westmeath have just 57% of crops in. Galway and Donegal have an estimated 66% of crops planted.

Cork and Waterford made good progress late in the season and the area planted is estimated at 70%, while Carlow, Kildare and Laois have approximately 71% planted.

Head of crops knowledge transfer at Teagasc Michael Hennessy detailed the results of the survey at this week’s Teagasc National Tillage Conference at the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co Kilkenny, on Wednesday.

A total of 414 farmers, who have a planned winter cropping area of approximately 30,000ha, responded to the survey.

Establishment system

There was a mix of establishment systems across respondents, with 66% of respondents in a plough-based system. Those using ploughs only to establish crops had an average of 60% of their planned winter area planted.

Farmers using direct-drill had the highest level of winter crops planted at an average of 71%. These farmers probably moved earlier.

Minimum-tillage growers had about 61% of their winter crops planted and those in a mix of minimum tillage and ploughing had 67% of their winter crops planted.

Growers with under 40ha had 52% of crops in, while growers with over 40ha had 62% to 65% of crops planted, meaning that larger growers were not worse off than smaller growers (Figure 2).


Growers were asked what percentage of the planted area needs to be resown. The northeast of the country had the poorest establishment by far.

Some 13% of crops in plough-based systems needed to be resown in Louth, Dublin, Meath or Westmeath, while 26% of ground in minimum tillage and 16% of crops established by direct drill needed to be resown in those counties.

Plough-based systems reported the least amount of resowing requirements, while farmers with a mix of both ploughing and minimum-tillage systems reported the most issues on poorly emerged crops.

Plans for unplanted area

Growers were asked what they hope to plant in the area which was planned for winter crops, but was not planted.

A massive 47% said they will put it into spring barley (Figure 3). A further 18% said they will plant spring oats, while 15% would like to plant peas or beans.

Some 16% of farmers said they would try to plant winter wheat, while 5% plan to put in a forage crop.