The production yields of Ireland’s main cereal crops faced a significant downturn in 2023, marking a staggering 21% decrease compared to the previous year, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office.

Overall, the harvest of wheat, barley and oats experienced a substantial decline, amounting to a total drop of 530,000t.

This decline in yields can be attributed to various factors, including intensified competition among farmers for tillage land and adverse weather conditions during the crucial harvest period.

The unfavourable weather conditions led to a portion of crops remaining unharvested, exacerbating the decline in production.

Similarly, the total potato harvest for 2023 witnessed a notable decrease of 12.5%, equivalent to 46,000 tonnes.

The potato harvest also suffered from adverse weather conditions late last year, with some crops remaining unharvested in the fields.

In response to these concerning figures, Francie Gorman, president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), highlighted the increasing pressures faced by the agricultural sector.

He said: “It further highlights the urgency of the Tillage Survival Scheme put forward by IFA.

“We raised this again with Taoiseach Simon Harris on a tillage farm in Kilkenny last week.”

He continued: “No time can be lost in putting together a support package that provides some hope for the sector.

“Tillage farmers have faced a perfect storm since summer 2023, with falling grain prices; input costs remaining high; loss of rented land; and heavy rainfall in the period since,” Mr Gorman said.

“There is no question that our tillage sector is fighting for its very future,” he added.