Grain growers have said that they are facing a significant drop in yields this autumn because of the long spell of bad weather.

State farm body Teagasc has said that the harvest should be nearly finished now, but that over 80% of the corn crops are still uncut.

The Irish Farmers' Association said that the harvest could turn into a salvage operation, if the weather does not improve immediately.

It said over 500,000 tonnes in potential grain production has already been lost.

Teagasc said that 80% of the barley and wheat should normally be saved by now, but at this stage, only 20% of the crops are harvested.

The record rain and absence of sunshine during the summer has prevented corn from filling out.

The continuing heavy downpours are making ground conditions difficult for harvesting machinery to operate.

Teagasc tillage expert Jim O'Mahony said farmers should make every effort to get the crops in, even with high moisture content.

IFA grain committee chairman Noel Delaney said yields are down by 40% in some areas.

Mr Delaney said some crops may have to remain uncut and that the harvest could turn into a salvage operation if the weather does not improve soon.

This means that farmers may have to rescue crops from the field irrespective of quality.

Professor of Crop Science at UCD Jimmy Burke said droughts in the US and eastern Europe have pushed world grain prices up.

He said this will cushion Irish farmers to some extent, but may mean higher prices in the shops for items such as bread, confectionery, beer and some meat.