The harvest is now underway and some progress has been made in parts of north Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny. Initial reports suggest that yields are reasonable with good quality.
There is still no confirmation on prices as merchants report no firm orders from the feed trade as of yet. Forward green prices for the harvest still remain around the €145-mark range for barley and €156/t for wheat.
IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne said following last year’s straw shortage, mushroom composters have recognised the importance of a local supply and are proposing contracts to guarantee enough quantities.
IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne has said that the provisional area figures from DAFM regarding planted cereal area in Ireland indicate the continued lack of confidence in the sector. He said it is a positive that the area under cereals has stabilised, but it is still the second lowest planted area on record.
The 2019 Teagasc Farm Survey has indicated an average rise in tillage farm incomes, however, this comes after successive years of poor farm returns. It belies the fact that growers (particularly of Spring crops) had another poor year due to drought conditions.
Mark Browne said, “Since 2012 the tillage acreage has dropped by almost 20%. This is of major concern considering that imports of grain for livestock feedstuffs have increased significantly, with maize in particular having trebled in tonnage during this same period. Substituting imports for Irish native grains results not only in the loss of millions of euros to the rural economy but is undermining Ireland’s credentials in relation to Origin Green and our carbon footprint”.
Mark Browne concluded by saying that the price of quality assured Irish grain cannot continue to be dictated by the price of imported GM feedstuffs, which do not conform to the regulatory and environmental standards demanded by the EU Commission and the Irish Government.
It looks like the grain harvest will start in the south of the country sometime after the 15th of July. What originally looked like an early harvest earlier in the year now looks to be normal timing. If yields are above average, we should see a total cereal harvest around 2.2m tonnes which would be still 200,000 tonnes below the 2017 harvest but 350,000 above last years.