Teagasc Harvest Estimates 2018
Cereal farmers have been hit badly with the weather this year following the poor autumn, spring and the drought this summer. With the cereal harvest underway, Teagasc has estimated the total harvest at 1.74 million tonnes, which is one of the lowest totals since 1994 (1.6 mt) and the third lowest since 1985. The reduction in the total expected grain harvest is a combination of a reduced area (11.3%) compared to 2017, and lower yields.
A large decrease in the yields of spring crops is expected in 2018
Most of the spring crops were planted between 6-8 weeks later than normal. For these crops to achieve normal yields a perfect growing season was required. However drought took place shortly after planting, with many crops (in the south east) receiving almost no rain since planting.
Winter crops were better able to withstand the drought conditions compared to spring crops. Yields of winter crops are predicted to be reduced by up to 1.25 tonnes per hectare, with straw yields also reduced. There was a good uptake of farm-to-farm trading between tillage and livestock farmers, with a large percentage of winter wheat whole cropped for animal forage in some areas. Teagasc estimate between 5-10% of winter wheat has been whole cropped at this stage.
Estimated yields and total production of the Irish cereal area 2018
Speaking about this year’s harvest, Michael Hennessy, Head of Teagasc Crops Knowledge Transfer, said: ”A large decrease in the yields of spring crops is expected in 2018. Spring barley yields will be halved in many cases, with the average yields predicted to be 26% lower. Similar decreases will be experienced in spring wheat and oats. A sharp reduction in straw yields is also predicted with an overall reduction of between 25-30% expected.”
Other crops such as beans and peas will be badly affected in 2018 with yield drops of 50-70% expected compared to 2017.
These dramatic yield drops will be somewhat compensated for with an increase in grain prices of €30/t (+20%) compared to last year, and increased demand for straw has seen prices increase by over 100%.