All is not lost for tillage farmers this year, Michael Hennessy, head of crops in Teagasc, has said.

“We are passed the ideal sowing date, but if the weather comes just right at the right time, all of the crops could do really well. But if there is a dry period in the middle, they could all do quite poorly.”

With the wet weather comes some disease risks, he said.

There is a proportion of winter crops on wetter land that farmers haven’t got a chance to put fertiliser, growth regulators or weed control on to, increasing the risk of the crop being negatively affected, he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Commenting on the workload ahead, he said tillage farmers will “need every hour of every day and night for two to three weeks to try and catch up”.

He added that it will take “a heavy toll on people”.

“There is a lot of good tillage land with water lying on it, that will take the guts of two weeks of dry weather to make it suitable.”

He encouraged farmers to sit down and do the figures for their business. “It’s not about yield anymore, it’s about margins,” he added.

“There are fewer winter crops and there is a real potential that there will be much less straw in acres and in yield,” he noted.

He urged farmers who want straw this winter to “contact their straw supplier, agree a price and book in for the straw, as tillage farmers will be looking at the Straw Incorporation Scheme”.

He finished by saying that the morale is low on the ground and is down to three main reasons – the crops in the ground aren’t looking great, the ground conditions are terrible and grain prices aren’t as attractive.