What an unusual growing season this year has been, a long wet and cold winter followed by little or no spring and straight into summer. This meant the crops this year were stressed most of the growing season, for one reason or another.

The drought in our pocket in County Kildare has had dramatic consequences on crops.

There will be little or no straw off some crops and looking at the small heads, I don‘t think they are going to yield particularly well either. I can‘t see how they will pay for themselves.

On the spring barley, we decided to cut our losses on the final spray and just go with Bravo at 1l per ha rather than spend money on a crop that won‘t pay.

This close to harvest, I can do a quick tot on most of the costs associated with this years growing crop. It didn‘t make for happy reading.

The biggest difficulty I had, was including a price for straw. I have heard some mad high prices being offered already, by farmers to farmers.

On the other hand the mushroom factories won‘t give out any price, yet they can pay for imports to come in from the UK and Spain. With Brexit coming around the corner and trying to stay competitive with tight margins, I would have thought it would have made more sense to look after the local farmers.

If farmers don‘t know what they are going to get when they start cutting, in a year when prices are high, I think the mushroom factories are going to struggle to find straw.