While last weekend’s heavy rain brought the harvest to a halt, Teagasc is confirming that combines are now back in the fields – working at full pelt.

Moreover, the forecast for the next few days raises the hope of more dry weather coming our way.

The winter barley harvest is virtually complete and good progress is being made with winter oats and winter oilseed rape.

Some early-planted spring barley has been harvested in the south of the country.  But it will take another few days before any significant amounts have been harvested. It is the same story with winter wheat crops.  

Reports from farmers and agronomists suggest that the winter barley harvest of 2022 has been disappointing.

Harvest yields

There are a broad range of yields, from less than 5t/ha to over 11t/ha. But it is likely that the average this year will be below the five-year average of 9.0t/ha.

Grain moisture has been low due to dry conditions but specific weight is below average especially in poorer yielding crops. Straw yields are reported to be average. 

It will take some time to properly assess the reasons for some of the poorer yields but Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) has caused some of the poor yields particularly, in the south where some of the severe infections resulted in yields below 5t/ha.

But BYDV is not the only factor; poor grain fill, take-all and ramularia have all been cited as issues by growers and agronomists in lower yielding crops. 

Winter oilseed is yielding exceptionally well to date, with many reports of crops yielding in excess of 5t/ha and looks set to exceed the five-year average of 4.4t/ha. Reports regarding winter oats are also good with many growers achieving 10t/ha.  


Meanwhile, demand for straw remains strong. There is clear evidence that significant numbers of dairy and other livestock farmers are in Northern Ireland are stockpiling straw now.

This reflects growing concerns regarding possible fodder shortages later in the year and next winter.

The north’s winter barley harvest is now almost complete with most growers reporting good yields.

It is now evident that BYDV has not been the problem in this part of the world, as would have been the case in places like Cork and the south east.

Across the board, there is now a growing belief that most of the 2022 cereal harvest can be completed in a hassle-free and strategic manner. In other words, rain will not stop lay to any great extent.