Winter cereal crops are struggling, and much of the intended area has not been planted in many parts of the country.

Liam Leahy, Dairygold’s head of tillage, stated: “Tipperary area is more or less the same as last year. Mid Cork - Fermoy, Mallow that area – would be back about 25%. Winter barley in east Cork and south Cork is back about 65% and winter wheat is back about 25-30%. That’s going to be a little bit of a concern.”

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at Dairygold’s annual tillage conference last Friday, Leahy warned this is going to create a huge workload for farmers this spring and next harvest.

The co-op’s head of agribusiness Liam O’Flaherty noted that €5m has been spent on developing and maintaining grain infrastructure over the past seven to eight years at Dairygold and will continue to be invested.

The spend paid off in the 2022 spring barley harvest when there was a record intake in a short number of days and grain continued to be taken in.

Don’t panic

Teagasc tillage specialist Ciarán Collins urged farmers not to panic when looking at crops which struggled through the winter.

“We just have to wait for better weather and do an assessment. The economics of re-planting crops isn’t very good, because we’ve invested expensive seed and establishment that’s gone in already. Sometimes working with a low plant count is economically better,” he noted.