Teagasc Crop Report

Harvest Report 2019

Harvest Report 2019

Tuesday 10th December 2019
(Updated Monday 20th January 2020)
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Headlines
  • The overall production of cereals for 2019 is estimated to be just over 2 million tonnes, up from 1.8 million tonnes in 2018. This represents an increase of 373,000 tonnes (20%) from 2018 but still below the 5 year rolling average of 2.36 million tonnes.

 

  • The cereal area is unchanged from 2018 at 261,000 hectares. The dynamic of the cereal area changed with a 27% increase in winter cereal area from 2018 to 2019 mainly due to favourable planting weather in autumn 2018. This resulted in a record area of winter barley at 81,400 hectares.

 

  • The average yields of spring barley were 8.0 t/hectare. This is the highest ever recorded yield of spring barley, the previous record of 7.8 t/hectare was set in 2017.

 

  • Current estimates indicate that the winter cereal area is 50% lower than 2019 due to high rainfall this autumn. The most affected counties are in the north east with some counties as low as 30% planted while southern counties have fared better with up to 80% planted in Tipperary.

Estimated Cereal Production 2019

 

Table 1: Cereal Area, Yield & Production for 2018 and 2019

Crop

2019¹

('000ha)

2018*

('000ha)

Diff*

('000ha)

%*

Yield (t/ha)

2019 **

Yield (t/ha)2018*

'000t

2019$

'000t

2018*

Diff (‘000 ton)

'000t

%

W Wheat

58.4

54.4

4

7%

10.1

8.9

560

484

76.1

16%

S. Wheat

3.7

3.6

0.1

3%

8.30

6.2

29

22

7.0

31%

W. Barley

81.4

57.9

23.5

41%

9.42

8.8

729

510

219.1

43%

S. Barley

94.6

127.4

-32.8

-26%

8.00

5.6

719

713

5.7

1%

W. Oats

16.4

10.2

6.2

60%

8.85

7.9

137

81

56.9

71%

S. Oats

6.9

7.6

-0.7

-9%

7.70

5.6

51

43

8.1

19%

Total Cereals

261

261

 

0%

-

 

2225

1853

373

20%

WOSR

8.7

8.8

-0.1

-1%

4.3

3.9

-

-

-

-

 

Totals may not agree due to rounding-off

1Preliminary DAFM figures

* Data taken from www.cso.ie

** Teagasc yield estimates

$ Yields X Utilisable Area (Area x 0.95)              

Harvest 2019

 

Harvest 2019 started in mid-July with winter barley but broken weather making the entire campaign a stop start affair. Some of the late ripening crops such as spring beans were not fully harvested until late October. The main harvest got underway in early August but the broken weather again delayed operations. The quality of the early harvested crops e.g. malting barley was excellent at the start however this deteriorated as the harvest progressed. Most crops were harvested at moisture levels below 20%. Field work such as baling straw proved to be very slow as many crops had to be turned before they were baled. Some farmers opted to chop straw particularly on headlands.

 


Cereal Quality and Straw 2019

Cereal Quality and Straw 2019

Cereal grain moistures were around average for all crops. Quality was average as a whole but the earlier harvested crops had higher quality in general. Demand for straw was much lower in 2019 than 2018 and as a result many farmers opted to chop parts of fields. This also helped the baling process on many farms as where headlands were chopped crops were easier to manage.

 

 

 

Table 2: Cereal Harvest Quality & Straw 2019

Cereal Harvest Quality Summary 2019

 

Moisture

(%)

Hectolitre Weight (as harvested)

(Kg/hl)

Straw Price*

Avg.

Avg.

€/ha

W. Wheat

19.4

72.7

236

S. Wheat

19.5

72.5

209

W. Barley

18.1

64.7

290

S. Barley

18.5

64.5

232

W. Oats

18.0

53.0

247

S. Oats

18.6

52.3

187

*straw on the ledge, not baled, at harvest

 


Winter Wheat

Winter Wheat

The area of winter wheat increased, by almost 4,000ha, in 2019 to 58,387ha. This was as a direct result excellent planting conditions in autumn 2018.  Crop establishment was excellent even in later sown crops and subsequently crops emerged well from the winter. 

Disease levels were high this year with yellow rust and mildew being problematic in early spring. Septoria was present in all crops but was reasonably well controlled in most cases however take-all was evident in some crops. 

Yields of winter wheat averaged 10.1 t/ha, but again there was a large variation in yields ranging from, 7.0 -12.5 t/ha, this is on par with the 5 year rolling average of 10.04 t/ha. First wheat after break crops yielded very well while continuous wheat were poorer in most cases. Grain quality was good at 72.7 kg/hl with average harvest moistures of 19.4%.

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Winter Barley

Winter Barley

The area of winter barley increased by 41% to 81,381ha compared to 2018.  Again this was largely due to the excellent sowing conditions in autumn 2018 and also the good performance of winter barley on many farms in 2018 compared to spring crops.

Ramularia symptoms were very evident in all varieties from early in the year and while chlorothalonil controlled it in crops there was still evidence of the disease at harvest time. BYDV symptoms were more common in crops than in 2018 especially in early sown crops and those near the coast.

Mild weather in December and January was also a factor. Yields increased from 8.8t/ha in 2018 to 9.28 t/ha in 2019, this is marginally above the 5 year average of 9.2 t/ha. However there were large variations in yields from farm to farm depending on the levels of BYDV and ramularia in crops. Coastal regions seemed to be most affected.

Grain quality was good at 64.7 kg/hl with average harvest grain moistures at 18.1%, however again there was a large variation from 15% to 21%.


Winter Oats

Winter Oats

The winter oat area increased significantly to 16,355ha, up 60% from 2018.  Like other autumn crops, oats established well and emerged well from the winter.  Foliar disease levels were moderate however mildew was present in most crops in early spring but tended to dry up later in the season.

There were high levels of crown rust in crops in the South.  Average yields were well above 2018 levels at 8.85 t/ha (8.1 – 11.2t/ha) which is above the five year average of 8.6 t/ha.  Quality was generally good with specific weights averaging 53.0 kg/hl and, average harvest grain moisture of 18.0%.


Spring Wheat

Spring Wheat

Spring wheat area increased slightly by 100ha (1%) in 2019, to 3,716ha.  Crops in general had low levels of foliar diseases throughout the growing season although mildew was evident at moderate levels in some crops. Average yields were average at 8.3 t/ha (range 7.0 – 9.5 t/ha), which is higher than the 5 year average of 7.86 t/ha.  Grain quality was good at 72.5 kg/hl with most grain harvested below 19.5% MC. 


Spring Barley

Spring Barley

There was a very large decrease in the area of spring barley planted in 2019 to 94,636 ha, compared to 127,400 in 2018 a 26% decrease.  This was mainly due to the poor performance of spring barley in the drought conditions in 2018 and the excellent conditions that allowed planting of winter crops during the autumn.

Much of the drop in area was taken up by winter barley.  Crops were planted early and into good conditions in most cases. Although conditions in May were harsh this did not seem to affect tiller production and most crops had good ear counts by harvest.  BYDV levels were generally lower than it appeared in crop and consequently  did not a significant on the final yields, disease levels were reasonably low.

 

Nationally, spring barley recorded average yields of 8.0 t/ha (2.5 – 9.0 t/ha) and this represents the highest ever recorded yield of spring barley, and significantly above the 5 year average yield of 7.2 t/ha. Grain moisture averaged at 18.5% with average hectolitre weights of 64.9 kg/hl.

 


Spring Oats

Spring Oats

The spring oat area decreased again to 6,900 ha in 2019 this represents a decrease of 0.7% on 2018.  This again was a result of the increases winter sowings.  Foliar diseases such as mildew were present during the season but in general were well controlled.  

The national yield was 7.7 t/ha (range 6.5 – 8.5 t/ha), this is 0.6 t/ha higher than the 5 year average of 7.1t/ha.  The grain quality averaged 52.6 kg/hl, with harvested grain at 17.2% moisture content.


Oilseed Rape

Oilseed Rape

The area of winter oilseed rape (8,790 ha) was much the same as 2018  8,651ha, a decrease of 1.0%.  Crops established very well and developed good canopies due to earlier sowing and a mild winter. Pigeon grazing did not significantly impact on most crops in 2019. Foliar disease levels (Phoma & Light Leaf Spot) were reported to be low in 2019.  Nationally, crops yields were average at 4.3 t/ha (Range 3.0 – 5.5 t/ha) with low moistures of 11%. 

 

The spring rape area was 497 ha.  Spring oilseed rape crops yielded 2.5 t/ha (2.0 – 3.1 t/ha) with reasonable moistures of 12.0%.


Spring Beans

Spring Beans

The area of spring beans decreased in 2019 to 6,483 ha due to a farmer reaction following a poor yield performance in 2018. The area of spring beans combined with winter beans and other proteins was 7,931 ha hectares and will result in a slight increase in the protein payment to growers for 2019.  

 

Spring crops were planted in good conditions generally and grew well during the spring. Chocolate spot and downy mildew were evident on most crops. During the summer large colonies of black bean aphids were observed in many crops but how much damage they did is unclear. Yields were average at 5.5 t/ha (range 2.5-7.5t/ha) at an average moisture of 21%.


Potatoes

Potatoes

The total area of potatoes including seed and earlies increased slightly in 2019 by almost 400 hectares to 8,259 hectares this equates to a 5% increase in area compared to 2018.  Crops were planted in reasonable conditions in April although some growers managed to plant some main crop in March. The harsh weather in May delayed growth and many of the later planted crops struggled to reach full canopy by mid-July. Tuber numbers were reported to be low in late planted crops but the early planted crops had good numbers. In many crops daughter tubers seemed to set high in the beds which has given rise to greens in many fields thus increasing waste.  Blight pressure was low for the most part in 2019.

Yields are reported to be significantly higher than 2018 but the delayed harvest will increase losses and waste with the result that supplies might be tighter than otherwise expected in 2020. The Bord Bia yield dig results are expected by the end of November.


Winter Crops 2019/2020

Winter Crops 2019/2020

The above average rainfall in September and October has had a dramatic effect on autumn drilling, while some farms managed to complete drilling many have little or no autumn planting done.

 

Table 3. Estimated Winter Cereal Areas for 2018/9 & Relevant Comparisons

 

2020*

2019**

Diff (ha)

% Diff

W. Wheat

25,884

58,387

32,503

-56

W. Barley

44,770

81,381

36,611

-45

W. Oats

5,855

16,355

10,500

-64

Total Winter Cereals

76,509

156,123

79,614

-51

Winter Oilseed Rape

7,500

8,800

1,300

-15

Winter Beans

0

800

800

-100

*Teagasc estimates

**CSO Data

The assistance of the CSO with the statistics is gratefully acknowledged.

 

 

As always, Teagasc advise growers to complete a financial review of their cropping program before committing to land rental decisions in 2019/20.  A free excel calculator is available to help growers estimate crop budgets at https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/crops/reports--publications/crops-margins--ecrops/