The average returns from winter wheat and spring barley increased 50pc in 2018 compared to 2017, preliminary results from the Teagasc eProfit Monitor indicate.

While winter wheat and spring barley yields decreased by an average of 22pc last harvest, a combination of higher grain and straw prices, and lower costs, meant that returns to growers improved significantly.

However, Michael Hennessy of Teagasc cautioned that the preliminary results were based on returns from just around 45 growers and did not give a comprehensive picture.

“We must be careful when looking at the 2018 figures as the results will be very different depending on where a farmer was located,” Mr Hennessy said.

“We know farms with a mix of winter and spring crops in the north-east returned reasonable yields and fared far better than farmers dependent on spring crops in the south-east,” he explained.

“Farmers will continue to collate their figures in the coming months and we will have a clearer picture of the situation towards the middle of 2019,” Mr Hennessy added.

Average yields for grain crops were well back in 2018 compared to 2017 as a result of the summer drought.

Winter wheat yields fell from around 3.8t/ac to 3t/ac, spring barley fell from 3t/ac to 2t/ac, while winter barley yields dropped from 3.75t/ac to 3.4t/ac.