Crops have progressed well in the last few weeks and pod fill is now nearing completion. While the frosts in April prolonged flowering, they are unlikely to have had much of an effect on overall yield however this remains to be seen. By early July most crops should be ready for pre-harvest desiccation.
Maincrop varieties are in rapid canopy phase at the moment and growth is quite good in crops. Some crops in the east and south are being irrigated as soil moisture levels drop due to the relatively dry June. Crops will typically use upto 35 mm of water a week at this time of the year. Early varieties are selling well at the moment while the second earlies are now available in some areas.
Fodder beet crops are growing rapidly in current weather conditions and early planted crops have closed the furrows. Disease control will be the target from now on especially for later harvested crops. Powery mildew, rust and cercospora can all significantly reduce yield if not controlled and will cause harvesting difficulties for belt machines later in the season.
All successful farmers who applied for the SIM scheme have now been notified, it is not possible for farmers to withdraw from the scheme unless in Force Majeure circumstances. Over 38,500 ha were committed to the scheme by June 9th which was the date of acceptance by DAFM of the applications with an average of 19.75 ha per application. This will account for almost €8.9 million of the total €10 million budget, with an average payment per claim of €4,546.
The breakdown of the crops is as follows;
Teagasc estimates that cereal production from harvest 2021 will be 2.35 million tonnes. This is a 450,000 tonne increase from 2020. The return to normal output is due to a return to normal autumn plantings and good yield prospects.
Based on provisional figures from DAFM the cereal area has increased by 3.7% (9,885 ha) but significantly a return to normal winter cereal area following the difficult autumn of 2019. Winter cereal area for harvest 2021 increased by 42,318ha, while spring barley reduced by 24,999ha from 2020.
Yield prospects are on target for all cereals but weather between now and harvest will be a defining factor. Disease in winter wheat (yellow rust in north east & septoria in south) and winter barley (ramularia) are likely to reduce yield where control is poor. Late frosts are likely to reduce yield and quality in some winter oats and winter barley crops.
Yield prospects for spring barley are good but there may be some large variations with poor yields coming from crops adversely affected by high rainfall in May.
Straw yields are expected to be normal.
The harvest is expected to commence in mid July with winter barley in southern counties.