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Spring Cereals

Spring Barley,Oats and Wheat are the three main spring cereal crops. Spring Barley is the largest spring crop with approximately 150,000ha sown each year. Average yields for the last five years are 7.2 t/ha. There is, approximately 16,000 hectares of Spring Wheat sown each year here, with an average yield of 7.9 t/ha. The total acreage of Spring Oats sown has increased in the last number of years, with on average 14,000 hectares of Spring Oats sown annually, yielding circa 7.3 t/ha. See tables below for year on year sowing rates and average yields.

For high yields in Spring Barley growers should endavour to maximise the number of grains per meters squared. The Teagasc Spring Barley Guide outlines how this is achieved. Download The-Spring-Barley-Guide (PDF)

Spring Barley

Spring Barley is primarily used for feed production, with 87% going to the livestock sector. A significant proportion, 13%, is used for premium malting and roasting, and this may rise in the coming years.

National Area and Yield of Spring Barley
 201120122013201420152016
National Area
(ha in 000)
144.8 151.8 183.5 155.6 132.4 113.5
Average Yield
(t/ha)
7.5 6.2 7.2 7.5 7.7 7.3

Data: www.cso.ie

Malting barley makes up approximately 10% of the spring barley area. Growing malting barley has many similarities with feed spring barley but the quality parameteres are more stringent. See here for details of growing Malting Barley as presented in the Malting Barley Spring Seminar 2016.

Spring Wheat

Spring Wheat is used for animal feed production, which accounts for 94% of output. Some, 6%, is sold to the milling market for human consumption, however this varies from year to year, due to difficulties meeting milling standards in our climate. Due to the quality of Irish milling wheat, it is generally mixed with higher protein wheats before being made into bread.

National Area and Yield of Spring Wheat
 201120122013201420152016
National Area
(ha in 000)
16.4 13.5 15.2 6.5 10.0 7.4
Average Yield
(t/ha)
8.3 6.1 8.1 8.3 8.6 8.0

Data: www.cso.ie

Spring Oats

Mainly used for the production of horse feeds and other animal feeds, some oats are used for milling, for human consumption, and also as seed for export. The demand for food grade oats is on the rise, on both domestic and international markets.

National Area and Yield of Spring Oats
 201120122013201420152016
National Area
(ha in 000)
12.4 13.8 21.3 8.5 12 9.8
Average Yield
(t/ha)
7.9 6.4 7.0 7.3 7.7 7.3

Data: www.cso.ie