• A Mayo Senator is calling for an investigation into the prices being paid by meat factories to farmers for beef. Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway Walsh has called for an investigation into whether or not a cartel is in operation by a small number of factories.

    She raised the matter at the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture earlier this week.

     Representatives of three farming organisations were present – the IFA, the ICMSA and the INHFA.

    The Senator believes that the low prices being paid by factories to farmers at present means that many farmers in this region can no longer afford to continue in beef production.

  • A Mayo Senator has said Revenue must treat farmers as citizens not targets in new taxation measures.

    Erris Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh was speaking at an IFA meeting to inform farmers about the changes in Breaffy House last week.

    She says small farmers in the west of Ireland struggling to make a living on marginal land must be exempted from further bureaucracy when it comes to new taxation measures proposed.

    Senator Conway-Walsh says the new PAYE modernisation scheme, due to be implemented from January 2019 is unworkable for small farmers. She says having to report any payments to spouses, sons or daughters or casual labour in real time, is going to cause huge challenges for farmers.

    The Senator says exemptions must be introduced to reflect these situations for farmers.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced that advance payments under year 2 Sheep Welfare Scheme have commenced on time this week to all eligible farmers.  The Minister confirmed the rate for the advance payment was again set at 85%. 

    A total of €15.1 million is now issuing to some 18,600 farmers.

    The Minister said: “The scheme, which was a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government, reflects the commitment of the Government to the sheep sector in Ireland, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the sheep sector”.

    Minister Creed urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment.

    The Minister concluded by saying:

    “Year three of the Scheme will be opening in the coming weeks and my Department will be in contact with farmers shortly to advise them of this.  At that stage, there will also be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.”



  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced the mandatory extension of electronic identification to all sheep.

    The new rules will require all sheep sold from 1 October 2018 onwards to be identified electronically.  This timeframe will allow farmers a reasonable period of time to use up stocks of tags on hand. The Minister added that he intends to introduce a one off support measure up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags.

    Lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth will be required to be identified with a single electronic tag.  All other sheep will require an EID tag set comprised of two tags – one conventional tag and a corresponding electronic tag.  However a conventional tag and an EID bolus will be permitted also.

    The Minister further announced that electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management.  He stressed however, that tag readers are not a requirement for the new sheep identification system. 

    The move to full EID and the inclusion of EID readers as an eligible investment in TAMS will make the recording of the movement of lambs off farm much more convenient and will greatly simplify the paperwork involved for sheep farmers.

    Meanwhile IFA President Joe Healy said the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed on the imposition of compulsorily electronic sheep tagging on all sheep from October 1st is adding insult to injury after the fodder crisis and the financial challenges sheep farmers have had to endure this winter.

    He said it is astonishing that Minister Creed would impose further costs and bureaucracy on farmers on the same day that Brussels has proposed a cut to CAP Direct Payments.

    Joe Healy said the Minister is ignoring farmers and appears to be dancing to the tune of the meat factories, which are pushing hardest for EID.

    He said sheep farmers will be really angry with this announcement from the Minister as they see everybody benefiting except farmers, who will have to pick up all of the costs. In addition, it comes on top of the Clean Sheep policy which the Minister imposed earlier this year and it has caused immense hardship for the sector.

  • The Minister for Agriculture needs to pay the outstanding GLAS, ANC, and Sheep payments from 2017, if farmers struggling to buy fodder are to pay for it.

    That’s the view of Mulranny based Independent Councillor Michael Holmes.

    The Councillor told Midwest News today that while the Minister’s import subsidy for fodder transport costs is welcome, it’s not enough.

    He says he is aware of many farmers in this region that are still owed monies from last year’s schemes.

  • The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D., and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced a one-month extension to the deadline by which derogation farmers must have 50% of the their slurry spread.

    The date is extended from 15 June to 15 July 2018 and thereafter the remainder of slurry must be spread by low-emission technology.

    Minister Creed explained that “We have decided to extend the date by one month to 15 July 2018 in light of the significant difficulties faced by farmers and contractors in spreading slurry as a result of the extreme weather this spring. This has meant that it is not possible for many derogation farmers to meet the 15 June deadline set out in the Nitrates Regulations due to the poor weather and delayed grass growth, which has impacted on first cut silage harvesting dates. The limited extension for 2018 will facilitate farmers and contractors in catching up with their workloads”.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D., today announced that Ireland has been formally granted a ‘derogation’ under the Nitrates Directive following the receipt of legal approval from the EU Commission.

    Minister Creed said that “the renewal of the derogation for a further four years is great news for Ireland’s farmers as it allows them to plan ahead with certainty over the medium term. All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment particularly those farming intensively.”

    This formal legal approval follows December’s positive vote at a meeting of the EU Nitrates Management Committee in Brussels and the signing, by Minister Murphy, of the new Nitrates Regulations[1] on 20 December 2017 giving effect to Ireland’s fourth Nitrates Action Programme. This Programme will now be amended to reflect the terms of the derogation marking the conclusion of the process.

    The derogation allows more intensive farmers to operate at a higher stocking rate than that stipulated in the Directive, subject to adherence to stricter rules to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  The derogation will run to the end of 2021 when the fourth programme concludes.

    Minister Creed also announced the opening of the 2018 on-line application facility.

    Over 7,000 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2017 with a similar number anticipated to avail of the facility in 2018. The closing date for applications is 20th April 2018.Farmers who applied for a derogation in 2017 are reminded that they must submit fertiliser accounts by 20th April 2018 also.



  • A National Fodder Helpline has been set up by Teagasc to help farmers through the current fodder crisis.

    It says they can phone or text 087 7971377 to speak to a Teagasc person for assistance over the weekend.

    It says silage supplies must be stretched over the next three weeks, and normal daily silage feeding can be reduced in half by limiting the silage offered.

    Fodder Clinics have been held in most of Teagasc's 50 offices around the country over the last few days.

  • The independent chairman of talks in the beef dispute is expected to appear before the Oireachtas agriculture committee later.

    It comes as unofficial protests by farmers are continuing outside up to 17 meat factories - including Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis.

    Meat Industry Ireland says some plants are now fully blockaded, and that it's affecting beef exports. In a statement released last night, it says 17 plants are now affected, with some fully blockaded.
    It comes despite a series of High Court injunctions being in place, banning protests outside several factories.
    However, the group says it's not yet at the point where supplies of beef to Irish supermarkets are affected.

    Fine Gael TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee Pat Deering says the committee has been reconvened to try and resolve the issues involved....


    A pilot scheme to bring wireless broadband to rural farms is being launched by Teacgasc today.

    It's hoped Airband will help tackle the last mile of connectivity, a common problem in rural areas.

    The project, in partnership with Microsoft, will first be trialled at its 220 hectare agri-college campus in Ballyhaise Co. Cavan.

    Teagasc Directo,r Gerry Boyl,e says farming technology is constantly evolving so it's important farmers are keep up to speed.

  • A Fine Gael Cllr has described the current fodder transport subsidy scheme as a cocktail of bureaucracy.

    Roscommon Fine Gael Cllr Liam Callaghan says while the scheme is very welcome, many farmers are disappointed with the amount of paperwork and third party involvement.

    He says at present the farmer has to have a farm advisor visit his farm to carry out an assessment, an application is then made to the Department of Agriculture, who in turn notify the local co-op, the co-op then source the fodder on behalf of the farmer. The farmer pays the co-op for the fodder and transport and the Department then reimburses the farmer for the cost of the transport.

    Cllr Callaghan says this system could be simplified and farmers should be allowed to source their own fodder, which would speed the entire process up.

  • More talks are to take place next Monday to try to resolve the beef farming dispute.

    Earlier this week, discussions were had between farming organisations, Beef Plan and government agencies, and it has now been decided to continue negotiations next week.

    The row is over the prices farmers are getting for their animals at meat factories.

  • Average farm incomes dropped by 15 percent over the past year, according to economists at Teagasc.

    Its annual review and outlook says adverse weather conditions negatively impacted on agricultural production over the course of the past year.

    Dairy farms were the worst affected, where the average income decreased by an average of 22 percent, however, dairy incomes remains considerably higher than other sectors averaging €67,000.

    Gross margins on suckler farms are estimated to be down 19pc this year at €11,670, while tillage incomes were up on average by 6% this year.

     Overall, Teagasc is predicting that the average farm income will recover by 8 percent in 2019, with the assumption that weather returns to normal.