The Harvest Report published by Teagasc estimates that the production of cereals was 1.93 million tonnes in 2023. This represents a decrease of 492,500 tonnes (20%) from harvest 2022. All cereal crop yields were below the 5 year average in this weather disrupted season.
Total cereal area decreased by 6.4% on 2022 but a record area of winter oilseed rape (20,500 hectares) and spring beans (14,900 hectares) were planted for harvest 2023. When the increased area of winter oilseed rape (+41%) and spring beans (+60%) are factored in, the overall tillage area reduced by 2% when compared to 2022.
- Unfavourable weather at critical times had a negative effect on cereal production in 2023.
- Wet weather during the critical planting months of October 2022 and March 2023 resulted in a below average area of winter cereals and delayed planting of spring cereals.
- Drought in June negatively affected the yield of late sown spring barley.
- July was the wettest on record at 12 Met Eireann weather stations which resulted in a very high level of lodging in cereals, particularly in spring barley.
- Broken weather in August prolonged harvesting and some spring cereals, mainly spring oats and barley remain unharvested.
Despite the difficult harvest most feed grains are within the required specification.
There was a significant reduction in the volume of straw produced in 2023. A reduction of 6.4% in the cereal area, lower area of winter cereals, lodging and difficult weather to save straw are the main reasons for the lower volume of straw in 2023.
Teagasc Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer, Michael Hennessy commented: “The cropping year leading up to the harvest of 2023 was very challenging with excessive rain and drought conditions effecting the final yield in many crops. The weather pattern appear to be even more unpredictable than normal and many farmers are asking if climate change is already adversely affecting their businesses.”
Autumn 2023 Plantings
The cereal area planted this autumn for harvest 2024, is estimated to be at its lowest level since 2013 due to wet weather this autumn.
The autumn cropping estimates could increase for wheat and oats if suitable weather conditions arise for planting between now and mid-February. However there is a significant area to be replanted in some areas due to wet conditions post planting.