Strong Grain Prices Needed to Support Growers and Maintain Cereal Industry

IFA President Joe Healy has called on the trade to support tillage famers with strong grain and protein prices this harvest.

Joe Healy said the recent upturn in the market has to translate to increased prices, with Irish cereal plantings down for the fifth successive year, and farmers struggling to cope with a combination of low prices, expensive inputs, falling Direct Payments and increased compliance costs due to greening.

He said, “In light of the extremely difficult harvest last year, there is an onus on merchants and co-ops to appropriately compensate tillage farmers for the high-quality grain they produce. The trade has to recognise that without viable prices, the strong local supply of native grain they depend on to support Ireland’s export orientated livestock, dairy and drinks industries cannot be guaranteed.”

Liam Dunne, IFA Grain Chairman stressed, “ The latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show the downward trend in in land-use for crops has continued this year, with a drop in area planted for all cereals. Over the last four years the area sown to cereals has fallen by over 100,000ac and this trend will accelerate unless there is a rapid improvement in the income situation.

“Unless we see phenomenal yields, it is unlikely we will surpass 2m tonnes this harvest. This will be the first time since 2012 we have fallen short of that figure.”

Liam Dunne said grain growers need a minimum base price near to €145 per tonne for barley, and close to €155 per tonne for wheat this harvest, to earn a reasonable standard of living and ensure the survival of the industry.

“Following an IFA campaign last year, huge numbers of livestock and dairy farmers insisted on native grain in their feed rations and as a result there has rarely been so little grain in storage. We expect to see the recent uplift in forward prices continue with upward trends in prices this harvest,” Liam Dunne concluded.

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