Dairygold Harvest Intake 2014

While 2014 may not be remembered as a great year for you, the tillage farmer, owing to disappointing grain prices; you will remember fondly the bumper yields and a very straightforward harvest.

Dairygold total harvest intakes
Figure 1 shows the Dairygold total harvest intake (all cereals plus oilseed rape and beans) for the years 2009-2014.  The graph highlights the effect of the strong yields in 2014 with the total intake increasing nearly 13,000 tonnes over 2013 to 127,690 tonnes. The 2014 Dairygold intake is nearly 19,000 above the 2009-2013 five year average intakes (108,948 tonnes) and indeed is the highest Dairygold intake since 2008 when a record 138,000 tonnes passed through the gates of the various Dairygold intake points. 


Intake by grain type
Figure 2 shows the Dairygold 2014 harvest intake by grain type.  The increase in 2014 total intake over 2013 was largely driven by an increase in winter barley for feed.  Barley (be it for malting, feed, winter or spring) comprised 77% of the total Dairygold intake in 2014.  Wheat and Oats only accounted for 14.6% and 5.3% respectively with non-cereal break crops, Beans and OSR, making up the balance with a tiny 3.1% of the total intake combined, or 1.9% and 1.2% respectively.  It will be interesting to see if the new CAP rules significantly impact on these proportions in 2015 and beyond.

Figure 2-2014 Intake by Grain Type in tonnes

Harvest Prices
Harvest green grain prices slumped this year to their lowest level since 2009 as reflected by figure 3 which shows the Dairygold green grain price of feed barley for each of the years between 2009 and 2014.  This forced many growers to dip into their single farm payment to support themselves as their tillage enterprise made a loss despite strong yields and a smooth harvest. 

There are question marks about the future of the tillage industry in Ireland as to be sustainable an enterprise needs to be profitable over time.  Profit can be defined by the simple equation:

(Output X Price) – Costs = Profit

With output seemingly good the focus turns to:
• Price-Is it time to look at forward selling again?
• Costs-2015 represents a rare opportunity to walk away from conacre due to the new CAP rules if it is too expensive.

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