Farm­ing com­mu­nity are busy har­vest­ing crops planted last year

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - PICTURES -

ALTHOUGH the Ir­ish sum­mer is pe­ter­ing out to­wards a dis­ap­point­ing end, those in the farm­ing com­mu­nity are in the mid­dle of one of their busiest times as crops planted last year are fi­nally ready for har­vest.

Ce­re­als are har­vested from mid-July to mid-Sep­tem­ber with the ma­jor­ity com­pleted in Au­gust. Weather con­di­tions dic­tate the pace of har­vest and grain is gen­er­ally har­vested too moist to store with­out fur­ther dry­ing. Over 300,000 hectares of the best land in Ire­land is en­gaged in tillage farm­ing, or the an­nual pro­duc­tion of crops for har­vest. Ce­real crops are the main out­put, led by bar­ley, then wheat and then oats.

Be­tween 2000 and 2010, Ire­land recorded the high­est aver­age wheat and sec­ond high­est aver­age bar­ley yields in the world. There are ce­re­als grown in ev­ery county in Ire­land, although the area in 2010 ranged from just 29 hectares in Sligo to 41,569 hectares in Wex­ford. This is mainly explained by dif­fer­ences in the suit­abil­ity of the land and, to a lesser ex­tent, more hours of sun­shine in the south east.

The num­ber of in­di­vid­ual farm­ers grow­ing ce­real crops is high­est in Cork, at 2,830, fol­lowed by Wex­ford at 2,395 and Tip­per­ary at 1,240.

Apart from the ce­real crops, Ir­ish farm­ers grow maize, beans, peas, oilseed rape, beet and potatoes. Potato grow­ing in par­tic­u­lar has be­come very in­ten­sive, with just 12,200 hectares grown. There are 540 grow­ers who plant more than five hectares each and around 200 spe­cialised grow­ers ac­count for 75% of pro­duc­tion.

Maize in Ire­land is mainly grown as a for­age crop that is har­vested and en­siled for win­ter feed­ing to live­stock. It re­quires warm south fac­ing fields and tends to grow more suc­cess­fuly in the south. While im­proved va­ri­eties cope bet­ter with our cli­mate, maize yield and con­se­quently its pro­duc­tion cost per tonne are vari­able de­pend­ing on sea­sonal weather vari­a­tion.

In the Ir­ish cli­mate, the con­served for­age mar­ket is the only eco­nomic out­let for maize cur­rently. Maize is grown as a for­age crop, cut with a for­age har­vester and en­siled in anaer­o­bic con­di­tions to pro­mote a sta­ble acidic fer­men­ta­tion.

While much of the maize crop is grown by live­stock pro­duc­ers for con­sump­tion by their own stock, there is a mar­ket for maize pro­duced by crop grow­ers for sub­se­quent sale to live­stock pro­duc­ers. This al­lows live­stock pro­duc­ers to im­port ad­di­tional high qual­ity feed onto their farms, ef­fec­tively al­low­ing ex­pan­sion of their en­ter­prise. As a for­age, it is less ex­pen­sive to har­vest and trans­port than grass silage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.