There could be 105,000 fewer straw bales on the market this year if the tillage area is not maintained.

While planting continues, industry figures suggest the final tillage area could drop by 10,500ha this year unless Government intervenes to support the sector.

If the tillage area drops by 10,500ha in 2024, it could result in a reduction of approximately 37,000t of grain and 105,000 round 4X4 bales of straw. Currently straw is being imported from the UK daily to make up the shortfall in winter bedding for livestock.

A shortage of seed, crop diversification rules and competition for land are compounding issues on tillage farms.

The decline in area comes against the backdrop of a plan to increase Ireland’s tillage area by 52,000ha to 400,000ha by 2030.