Teagasc has, today (Wednesday, November 2021), published its 2021 harvest report.
It estimates that the production of cereals was 2.32 million tonnes in 2021. This is an increase of 407,000t (21%) from harvest 2020.
The state agency reported that the total cereal area increased by 3.1% on 2020.
There was a “major” shift back to winter cereals due to favourable sowing conditions in autumn 2020.
The area of winter wheat, winter barley and winter oats increased by 58%, 31% and 67%, respectively. Consequently, the area of spring barley decreased by 18% to 116,238ha in 2021.
Yields in all cereal crops were well above the five-year average. Firstly, winter oats recorded a record average yield of 9.32t/ha.
Winter wheat, spring barley, winter barley were all close to, but just below, the record yields recorded for these crops in previous years.
Teagasc said: “The 2021 growing season was favourable for cereals.”
“Good sowing conditions in autumn 2020 and in late March and early April resulted in good establishment and disease was well controlled.”
“Grain quality was good for the most part, and moisture contents were below 20% for most crops.”
“Harvest losses were minimal due to good weather in August/September, and grain moisture was below average.”
Straw quantities were “good” in all cereals, and dry harvest weather allowed farmers to bale or incorporate straw “without much difficulty”.
The DAFM introduced a new Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) this year to support Irish tillage farmers who decided to chop and incorporate straw into the soil after harvest.
“Demand and supply were well matched. The straw incorporation measure does not appear to have created any deficit in the market in 2021.”
Teagasc added that the estimated winter cereal area for the 2021/22 growing season is “broadly similar” to the previous season.
The area of winter oilseed rape is estimated to have increased “significantly” to 13,000ha.
“Crop establishment was excellent due to favourable weather conditions for sowing in late September and October. All crops are rated as very good to excellent.”
‘One of the best cereal harvests in recent memory’
Teagasc reported that above-average yields and good harvest weather, combined with strong grain and straw, markets resulted in high financial output from cereals in 2021.
Teagasc Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer, Michael Hennessy, commented:
“Harvest 2021 was one of the best cereal harvests in recent memory.”
“A combination of good yields and good harvest conditions made this one of the most profitable seasons ever for tillage farmers.”