Teagasc Crop Report

Update Number 1

Update Number 1

Wednesday 5th February 2020
(Updated Wednesday 8th April 2020)
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Welcome to the new Crop Report

Welcome to the new Crop Report.

The new format will look a bit strange at first so for the next few updates we will give pointers to find the new material on the website.

There will be new material put up every two to three weeks which include a general update of the crop progress through the country and also more detailed crop management information.  

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Crop Diversification

Crop Diversification

The DAFM have made an exception to the crop diversification requirements in 2020 for farmers that grow winter crops. This decision arises as a result of the difficult sowing conditions last autumn where there has been an estimated 50% reduction in the area of winter cereals compared to the previous year. This exemption applies to farmers that grow winter crops only. For farmers with spring crops crop diversification applies as normal.

Crop diversification has been part of greening since the introduction of the current CAP in 2015. Farmers with more than 10 ha of arable land, but less than 30 ha are obliged to grow at least two crops. For those with more than 30 ha at least three crops must be grown.  Along with the number, crops farmers also must ensure that the main crop does not exceed 75% of the arable area and, for those required to grow more than two crops, the two main crops must not exceed 95%.

 To qualify for the exemption farmers must meet the following criteria;

  • Declared winter crops, maize or potatoes on their 2019 BPS application;
  • Can demonstrate that they were adversely affected by the weather conditions in late 2019. 

Farmers who wish to apply for this exception may do so as part of their 2020 BPS application.  Applications will be examined on a case-by-case basis to ensure applicants meet the conditions as outlined above. 

Table 1: Crop diversification examples for 100ha farm based on 2019 BPS application

50 ha winter wheat

25 ha winter barley

25 ha spring barley

Qualifies for exemption

50 ha spring barley

25 ha spring wheat

25 ha spring beans

Does not qualify for exemption

5 ha Potatoes

20 ha spring wheat

75 ha spring barley

Qualifies for exemption

0.1 ha Potatoes

4.9 ha spring oats

20 ha spring wheat

75 ha spring barley

*Does not qualify for exemption

*Does not qualify for exemption because potatoes did not make a meaningful contribution to crop diversification in 2019.


Winter Barley

Winter Barley

The area of winter barley is estimated to be 45,000-50,000ha this season, down from 81,000ha in 2019. The prolonged wet weather and difficult sowing conditions last autumn has resulted is a wide range of growth stages this spring. Tiller numbers are lower than normal with a range in growth stages from GS 21 to GS 24. Many crops did not receive herbicide last autumn and fertiliser application is now a priority. Ensure that any deficiencies are corrected and the crop is growing well before applying inputs.    

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Winter wheat

Winter Wheat

The area of winter wheat is estimated to be between 40-50% lower than 2019. There are large variations in growth stages due to the prolonged sowing period. Crops will soon require an application of a compound fertiliser which will include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The amounts applied should be based on a recent soil test result and the predicted yield of the crop. For many crops or parts of crops this year, the predicted yield may be lower than normal and fertiliser applications will need to be adjusted accordingly.

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Winter Oats

Winter Oats

Similar to other autumn planted crops winter oats have suffered from late sowing and also from the very wet spring. The very wet (highest on record) conditions in February have taken its toll on oats with many crops showing waterlogging stress  throughout the fields. Crops are thinner than normal and backward compared to a normal year but recent Teagasc research indicates that oats can compensate for low plant counts by producing more grains per panicle. There are few reports of disease as yet.  

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Winter Oilseed Rape

Winter Oilseed Rape

The area of winter oilseed rape has remained relatively constant at between 7,500 and 8,500 ha over the last 5 years and it is estimated that the area of the crop planted in 2019 is within this range. In general crop have grown well over the winter with less pigeon grazing reported this year compared to other years.

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Spring Beans

Spring Beans

The area of spring beans has decreased from a high of 11,500ha in 2017 to 6,500 in 2019. Consequently the protein payment has increased from €215 in 2017 to €365 last year. The DAFM have confirmed that the protein payment is available for 2020 and with limited seed stocks available farmers should budget on receiving the higher end. Early planting is a key driver of yield so planting of beans should take precedence over other spring crops.  

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Spring Crops

Spring Crops

The area of spring cereals is likely to increase this year following lack of opportunities to plant last autumn. The largest increase is expected to be spring barley which is likely to increase from 95,000ha in 2019 to an estimated 140,000-150,000ha this season but seed availability will be a factor. Native spring wheat seed will be supplemented with imported seed but planting opportunities between now and mid/end of March will determine overall area. Availability of spring oats seed is less of an issue. While timeliness is important seedbeds should only be cultivated when soil is dry enough to produce a good tilth and support traffic.

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