Ireland: A Record Year for Spring Barley Yield


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The Harvest Report published by Teagasc estimates that the production of Grains in Ireland was 2.42 million tons in 2022. This represents an increase of 93,200 tons (4%) from harvest 2021. The winter Wheat area was 60,332 ha, an increase of 4,268 ha in 2021 and 7,000 ha over the 5-year average of 53,200 ha. The average yield was 11.0t/ha, which equals the previous Wheat record set in 2015. This year’s yield is 1.1t/ha over the five-year average yield for winter Wheat of 9.9t/ha. Some expectational individual yields were recorded with reports of individual fields producing more than 14t/ha. Wheat production in Ireland rose by 68.5% – some 270,000 tons – in 2021 when compared with the year previous, which had been a poor year for tillage, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Excellent sowing conditions in the autumn of 2021 and a good growing season contributed to the excellent Wheat yields this year. Disease levels were below average this year which was helped by a reduced area of varieties susceptible to yellow rust and good spraying conditions at critical spray timings. Harvest conditions were excellent, and crop losses were minimal. Grain moisture was below average at 16.4%, and hectolitre weight was 75.4 kg/hl, with individual crops exceeding 80 kph.

The spring Wheat area was similar to 2021 at 6,688 ha, close to the 5-year average of 6,340 ha. Almost all spring Wheat was planted in March and benefited from an excellent growing season with low disease levels. Perfect harvest conditions resulted in an earlier-than-average harvest, where many crops were harvested in late August/early September. The average yield was 8.1 t/ha, which is above the 5-year average of 7.74 t/ha. Grain quality was excellent, with average Grain moisture recorded at 17.4%.

Irish Winter and Spring Barley

The winter Barley area increased by 9% to 73,605 ha due to the favorable planting conditions in the autumn of 2021. BYDV was evident in southern and coastal counties. Above-average temperatures in autumn/winter contributed to the increase in BYDV (Barley yellow dwarf virus). Data from Met Eireann shows that winter 2021/2022 was the 6th warmest in 123 winters. 

The average yield was 8.68 t/ha, a decrease of 0.74 t/ha from 2021 and 0.22t/ha below the 5- year average of 8.9t/ha. Some of the lowest yields recorded were in southern and coastal counties, Cork, Wexford, and Wicklow, indicating the impact of BYDV on yield. The highest yields in 2022 were recorded in the midlands and northeast. 

The average spring Barley yield in 2022 was 8.1t/ha, which is the highest recorded yield for the crop, surpassing the previous record of 8.0t/ha in 2019 and the 7.9t/ha recorded in 2019 and 2021. Most areas reported yields over 10t/ha for individual crops. Crops were harvested in perfect conditions, and losses at harvest were minimal. Grain moisture averaged 16.2%, and the average hectolitre weight was 65.4 kg/hl.

The area planted of 116,693 ha was similar to the previous year and slightly below the five-year average yield of 119,700 ha. The tillage incentive scheme was a significant factor in the maintenance of the area, as a decrease would have been expected following the large size of winter Barley sown the previous autumn.  

The majority of the crop was planted in the second half of March in good conditions. Spring growth was excellent, resulting in some very thick crops. Lodging was confined to a small area and helped by favorable weather. Disease levels were low, but net blotch and rhynchosporium were present where fungicide application was delayed. 


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