Grain production's future in Ireland could be grim, The Irish Times quoted Colum McDonnell, chairman of the national grain committee of the Irish Farmers' Association, as saying. The culprits, reportedly, are two poor harvests and low financial returns.

McDonnell believes about 50,000 hectares of land are no longer in grain production after last year's harvest. He said returns on crops will remain well below costs for two more years.

Farmers are expected to lose 40-50 EUR (US$56-70) a metric ton of grain based on the price of between 90-100 EUR(US$127-141) per metric ton being offered to them. "These levels of losses are not sustainable," McDonnell said.