Teagasc Crop Report

Spring Crops Reference Guide

Spring Crops Reference Guide

Thursday 23rd January 2020
(Updated Tuesday 19th May 2020)
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Spring Beans

Spring Beans

Beans are an indigenous source of protein for animal feed and the area grown has increased since the introduction of coupled support in 2015. Protein aid which is a coupled payment for eligible nitrogen fixing crops (beans, peas & lupins) has a total fund of 3 million euro which is divided by the eligible area to give a payment per hectare.  

Table 1: Area,Yield and Protein payment for beans 2015-2019

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

National Area (ha)

9,341

10,933

11,444

6,967

6,483

National Yield (t/ha)

6.7

5.9

6.7

2.5

5.5

Protein payment (€/ha)

280

246

215

350

365

The ability of beans to fix their own nitrogen and subsequent reduction in nitrogen demand for the succeeding cereal crop has financial benefits for the farmer and in addition benefits the environment. As a completely different crop type to cereals, beans act as a useful break in many disease and pest cycles, benefiting yield and cost reduction in the following crop.

Growing a non-cereal like beans offers opportunities for alternative weed control strategies. This is especially relevant where grass weeds are becoming an increasing problem and resistance to commonly used cereal herbicides is developing.

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Spring Wheat

Spring Wheat

The area planted of spring wheat has declined over the last number of years to approximately 3,700 ha in 2018 and 2019. Average yields over the last number of years with the exception of 2018 have been in the region of 8.0 to 8.6 t/ha. In 2020 it is expected that there will be an increase in spring wheat area to compensate for the reduced area of imported seed.

Table 1; Area and yield 

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

National Area grown

(000 ha)

10.1 7.5 6.8 3.6 3.7

Yield

(T/ha)

8.6 8.0 8.2 6.2 8.3

Source CSO.ie

Spring wheat in Ireland is grown mainly for animal feed as crops grown in Ireland quite often struggle to achieve milling standards.

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Spring Oats

Spring Oats

The acreage of the spring oats is currently 8,000-12,000 hectares.  Interest in the consumption of oat grains has grown in recent years as oat grains have been classified as a functional food and recent studies have demonstrated links between oat consumption and reduced risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and some cancers. Additionally, the composition of its protein fractions permits oats to be included in gluten free diets as long as there is no contamination from other cereals.

There are similarities between oats and other cereals but also differences. One of the most visible differences is the head of the oat plant, the panicle, which looks visibly different from the compact ears of barley and wheat plants. Oats do not produce tillers to the same extent as barley and wheat but oat panicles can have many more grains than the heads of other cereals, the number of grains per panicle can be adjusted by the oat plant over a wide range to suit agronomic and environmental conditions.

The oat panicle is shaped like a pyramid, broad at the bottom and tapering towards the top of the structure. The panicle is divided into a number of horizontal layers called whorls, most whorls consist of a number of branches coming from a single point on the upper stem. Oat grains are contained in structures called spikelets. Spikelets generally contain two grains, a larger primary grain and a smaller secondary grain.

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Spring Barley

Spring Barley

Spring Barley is primarily used for feed production, with 87% going to the livestock sector. A significant proportion, 13%, is used for premium malting and roasting and this is expected to increase into the future.  Growing malting barley has many similarities with feed spring barley but the quality parameters are more stringent.

National Area and Yield of Spring Barley

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

National Area
(ha in 000)

133

115

115

127

96

Average Yield
(t/ha)

7.7

7.3

7.9

5.6

8.0

Source: cso.ie

The area of spring barley has declined in recent years mainly due to an increase in the area of winter barley. Ireland’s climate is ideally suited to growing high yields of spring barley and the average yield of 8.0t/ha in 2019 was the highest ever recorded yield.  

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Spring oilseed rape

Spring Oilseed Rape

Planting of spring oilseed raps has hovered from 500 to 2000 hectares.  The crops struggles to consistently deliver the same level of profitability compared to other crops.  However it can be a useful spring break crop but will only perform well when planted on good soils and in good time (early April or before) 

Table 1; Annual area
Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Area (Ha) 1,340 2,250 2,110 1,809 497

Source CSO.ie

The yield of spring oilseed rape generally ranges from 2.5 t/ha to 3.25 t/ha although the average yield and net recorded on the Teagasc profit monitor analysis from 2016 to 2018  are displayed in Table 2.

Table 2; Yield and net margin
Year 2016 2017 2018
Average yield 2.86 2.52 2.2
Net Profit € -17 168 -242

 

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