Teagasc has estimated that the winter cropping area has fallen back by over 35,000ha this autumn.

Conor Callaghan from Teagasc displayed the figures at an Irish Grain Growers Group (IGGG) meeting in Ashbourne, Co Meath, on 12 December, where about 130 tillage farmers attended.

At present, Teagasc estimates that the winter wheat area has fallen by over 6,000ha, from 51,200ha in 2023 to 45,000ha in 2024.

Winter barley area is estimated to have fallen from 53,200ha in 2023 to 35,000ha in 2024. That’s a drop of over 18,000ha.

Winter oats area has fallen from 10,200ha to about 5,000ha, but is likely to balance out with spring oats.

Winter oilseed rape area has fallen from its high in 2023. It is estimated to have fallen from 20,500ha in 2023 to 15,000ha for the 2024 season. That’s a drop of 5,500ha.

In total, the area of winter crops planted in 2023 was estimated at 135,100ha. At present, Teagasc estimates the winter cropping area at approximately 100,000ha, a decline of about 35,100ha.

Should farmers continue to plant?

Conor, a tillage adviser in the northeast, noted that continuing to plant can help to spread the workload during the year, but advised farmers to only continue to sow winter crops if conditions are suitable.

He added that winter crops planted in January and February will go down as spring crops on the 2024 BISS applications.

As a result, Conor reminded growers that the fertiliser allowances on spring crops are much lower, so a nutrient management plan should be completed to ensure that they are not spreading too much fertiliser.


He also advised farmers to carry out plant counts on current crops. A winter wheat crop with a plant count of 90 plants/m2 could still hit 80% to 90% of potential yields he said.

He added that the cost of seed and establishment may not be recovered where crops are resown.