Winter wheat and spring barley profitability up 50% in 2018
Preliminary results from the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor suggest higher returns from crops last year compared with 2017.

A combination of higher grain and straw prices and lower costs increased the average profitability of winter wheat and spring barley crops by over 50% in 2018 compared with 2017, a new report from Teagasc states.

Results from a small number of farms suggest both winter wheat and spring barley yields decreased by an average of 22%.


"We must be careful when looking at the 2018 figures as the results will be very different depending on where a farmer was located in 2018.

"We know farms with a mix of winter and spring crops in the northeast returned reasonable yields and fared far better than farmers dependent on spring crops in the southeast,” Michael Hennessy, head of crops knowledge transfer at Teagasc, said.

We must be careful when looking at the 2018 figures as the results will be very different depending on where a farmer was located in 2018

“Farmers will continue to collate their figures in the coming months and we will have a clearer picture of the situation towards the middle of 2019.”

The 2017 e-Profit Monitor (ePM) results cover some 340 farms with over 25,000 ha.

The overall trend in 2017 is a marked increase in income compared with 2016.

The e-Profit Monitor average net margin for tillage farmers analysed was €343/ha, which compares to €106/ha in 2016.

It is expected that this trend may continue in 2018 as growers with a mix of crops returned higher yields and output than those with spring cereals only.


In 2017, the top one-third of growers achieved an income of €486/ha compared with the bottom third who achieved only €53/ha.

The bottom-performing group incurred over 50% more fixed costs (depreciation, interest, light, heat, etc) compared with the top group.

The bottom-performing group had a much higher proportion of land rented at 62% of the entire area compared with 26% of the area by the top-performing group.

Read more

No-deal Brexit: how would WTO tariffs affect the tillage sector?

Minister was ‘slack’ on calf exports
The IFA president has questioned whether the Minister fully understood the importance of calf exports this spring.

IFA president Joe Healy has accused the Minister for Agriculture of “poor form” and a “slack” response on the issue of calf exports.

Speaking at a north Tipperary IFA meeting in Nenagh on 25 March, he said that exports were the only competition factories had but that they insisted that exports were not being maximised the way they should be.

The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut

“We met the Minister last October to make sure that things would be in place for ferries this spring,” Healy said.

“The Minister told us that ferries would be sailing on alternate days but it turned out that the Minister was giving us wrong information.

“You would hope the Minister would know something as serious as that but it turns out he didn’t.

“It was poor form and slack. The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut but the farmer’s will,” Healy said.

Extra lairage

Healy said that the IFA had identified lairage space for up to 8,000 calves in Abbeville which was three and half hours from Cherbourg.

“Up to last year, calves that were landing in Cherbourg were going up to Abbeville,” Healy said.

“Some animal welfare crowd followed them and he [Minister Creed] signed a form to say that they wouldn’t use Abbeville.”

“We saw three lairages but not one calf in any of them and facilities for around 8,000.”

Under current regulations calves must be rested for 12 hours on arrival at Cherbourg.

ANC Tipperary

The issue of Area of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments was also raised and the IFA treasurer Tim Cullinan told farmers that 67 townlands in north Tipperary had been taken out of the ANC.

He said that the north Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh has arranged a meeting with local politicians on the issue and they hoped to get Tipperary townlands back into ANC.

The farmer's daily wrap: beef prices, Closamectin and Glanbia pay
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Tuesday.

Weather forecast

This Tuesday is set to remain dry, according to Met Éireann, with good sunny spells and top temperatures of 11°C to 14°C. It will become cold at night though with frost forecast.

In the news

  • Some types of cattle are holding their ground and others are under price pressure at factories.
  • The attention in Brussels is focusing on preparing for a no-deal Brexit.
  • The withdrawal period for Closamectin pour-on has doubled to 58 days.
  • Six Glanbia senior executives are in line for a €6.8m shares bonanza.
  • US armed forces have been airlifting fodder to cattle stranded by flooding in Nebraska.
  • Coming up this Tuesday

  • Land report: we continue our tour of prices around the country.
  • The latest from BETTER Farm programme participants.
  • Journal Vet Tommy Heffernan has advice on measuring colostrum and saving lambs with heat.
    Fianna Fáil calls for beef price transparency and immediate Brexit aid
    The opposition has tabled a far-reaching motion on suckler and beef farming to be debated on Wednesday.

    A motion introduced by Fianna Fáil TDs calls for increased transparency in beef pricing, including a beef market price index and a Government commitment to "examine the feasibility with stakeholders of requiring processors to report wholesale prices on a regular basis".

    The motion seen by the Irish Farmers Journal also urges more robust measures around carcase trim and grading, including publishing details of on-the-spot fines for factories breaching EU carcase trimming rules.

    All animals from a quality-assured farm should receive some level of bonus payment and the QPS grid should be reviewed, the text adds.

    Brexit threat

    As "Brexit poses one of the biggest ever threats to the beef sector for suckler farmers," Fianna Fáil cites the Irish Farmers Journal estimate of a potential drop in price to €2.50/kg in a no-deal scenario.

    The Government should "immediately request Brexit mitigation funding for farmers" under existing EU rules on market disturbance, the opposition TDs argue.

    The motion is highly critical of the Government, blaming it for "insufficient urgency" in tackling lairage capacity issues in France for calf exports and slamming An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's recent comments about his own meat consumption.

    Producer organisations

    With no producer organisations yet registered in the beef sector, Fianna Fáil wants to see increased incentives to set them up and a consultation with stakeholders to understand the barriers to their establishment.

    The motion also rejects any increased beef access in a potential Mercosur trade deal and renews calls for a €200/cow suckler premium voted in a previous motion last year.

    The Dáil will debate the non-binding motion on Wednesday and vote on it on Thursday.

    Read more

    Strong cross-party support for motion on fodder

    Committee calls for submissions on future of beef

    'Fianna Fáil offer populist criticisms with no solutions' – Deering