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Optimism at Tillage Forum

Optimism was plentiful at the Teagasc National Tillage Forum in Newbridge, County Kildare this week as delegates were told that the global stocks of wheat and barley are tighter following the harvest, and prices are well supported at current levels.

Jack Watts from the Home Grown Cereals Association (HGCA) in the UK commented; “The Russian ban on exports of grain this year and the likelihood of smaller winter plantings in Russia are supporting current prices. Analysts are sceptical about the total forecast of the maize harvest in the US which will have a large impact on the price of feed wheat globally.”

Growers were encouraged by members of a discussion panel at the forum to consider locking in some of next year’s harvest at the current prices. Phillip Doyle, a farmer from North Kildare, who was a member of the panel, is a big advocate of forward selling and he commented; “I trade my grain every month of the year but I don’t make my decisions lightly and look for at least four reliable sources of information before committing to a sale.”

The increase in grain prices, which have risen by almost 50 per cent over last year’s price, will spur, not only Irish farmers to plant increased cereal acreage, but also farmers globally. This increased agricultural activity could increase input prices for next year’s crop. Fertilizer prices have risen by 40 per cent to-date since the start of the year. These increases will impact on margins for Irish cereal growers despite the increase in grain prices. Shay Phelan from Teagasc warned growers to plan their crop mix carefully and to construct a realistic budget before committing to conacre for next year.”