Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Winter Cereals

Winter cereals is the term used to describe autumn drilled wheat, barley and oats. The area of winter cereals in Ireland was traditionally around 100,000 ha but has increased to around 150,000 ha in recent years, mainly due to an increase in the area of winter barley. Winter wheat and barley dominate the area with around 70,000 ha each, whereas only 10,000 ha of winter oats are drilled each year.

Monitor crops


About Winter Cereals

In each crop category (wheat, barley and oats) there are about five to eight different varieties sown each year. Growers primarily drill varieties which feature on the Department of Agriculture National Recommended Lists for each crop. Yield increases from plant breeding, in the order of 1% per year, which have increased yield of Irish crops to the highest in the world.

The average yields of winter cereals from 2010-2014 are:

Winter Wheat

 201120122013201420152016
National Yield

(t/ha)

10.2 7.2 9.3 10.2 10.7 9.7 
National Area

(ha)

77,700 83,300 45,400 65,100 55,300 59,700

Teagasc have published a comprehensive to growing Winter Wheat which collates research and best practice for obtaining high yields. The guide combines crop production research focusing on understanding how winter wheat yields are formed and best practice how to achieve this. The Winter Wheat Guide (PDF)

Winter Barley

 20122013201420152016
National Yield

(t/ha)

7.7 9.5 9.3 10.2 8.6
National Area

(ha)

40,500 36,000 60,100 69,800 73,800

Winter Oats

 20122013201420152016
National Yield

(t/ha)

6.8 8.1 8.7 9.2 8.3
National Area

(ha)

9,800 5,400 10,100 11,400 12,900

Data taken from www.cso.ie

Generally winter cereals are sown from mid- September to mid November.  Due to restricted growth after mid November, little or no cereals are sown after this date until mid to late January.

The market outlet for winter wheat and winter barley is almost all for animal feed (pigs, poultry, dairy and cattle ration, etc.) with a proportion of winter oats going for milling (used to make porridge).