Rain reduces Irish grain yields


Irish grain growers are facing significant financial losses this year because of continuing heavy rainfall, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Initial estimates suggest that as much as 500,000 tonnes of potential grain production has already been lost because of the damp conditions.

IFA national grain committee chairman Noel Delaney said crop yields had been reduced by up to 40 per cent in some places.

“What had looked like the potential to be a bumper 2.6 metric tonne grain harvest six weeks ago could quickly turn into a salvage operation if weather does not take an immediate turn for the better,” he said.

“Ground conditions are deteriorating rapidly with water tables at unusually high levels for the time of year.”

According to Met Éireann, rainfall in July was above average in almost all locations across the country, with Dublin, the midlands and southwest worst affected. It was also the dullest July since 2003, with sunshine totals below average everywhere.

Mr Delaney said less than 6 per cent of the spring barley crop and 1 per cent of the winter wheat crop had been harvested to date, which was very unusual for this time of year.

“Grain farmers have made significant investment in increased harvesting capacity over the last few years and rapid progress could be made if there were to be a significant improvement in weather and soil conditions,” he added.