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Lower 2023 Cereal Harvest Predicted

The Harvest estimate published by Teagasc estimates total cereal production in Ireland will be 2.1 million tonnes in 2023. This represents a decrease of 300,000 tonnes (-13%) when compared to 2022.

Estimated crop yields by Teagasc advisors indicates that crop yields for harvest 2023 will be close to the five year averages. The one exception to this is spring barley where advisors expect that yields in 2023 will be significantly below the five year average.

Teagasc estimate that 45% of this year’s spring barley was late sown, from mid-April onwards due to wet weather, and yield expectations in these crops are low with some crops struggling to reach a potential 5 tonnes per hectare. Using costs from the Teagasc Costs and Returns 2023 and current prices, these crops will have a negative profit margin.

Teagasc Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer, Michael Hennessy commented: “We have seen a big increase in costs this year and coupled with lower grain prices, and a return to average yields, margins will be very tight on tillage farms this year especially for growers with spring barley. Lower than average yielding crops, and crops on rented land, are likely to leave a negative margin in 2023”. 

Figures released by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) shows that the overall cereal area decreased by 6% when compared with 2022. However when protein crops and oilseed rape are factored in, the tillage area in Ireland reduced by 2%. If beet and maize areas are included, this reduces the change to a 1% reduction in area when compared to 2022. 

Teagasc Crops Specialist, Ciaran Collins commented; “While it is disappointing to see a drop in the cereal area, it is encouraging to see an increase in beans and oilseed rape, which will help increase the resilience of the tillage sector”. 

On a note of caution about the estimates, Michael Hennessy added; “The current very wet weather is hampering the harvesting of winter barley, with losses increasing in fields through dropped heads and crop lodging. In order for famers to harvest the yields predicted here, dry weather is essential over the coming weeks”.