Big bales ‘little help’ to farmers back West

Eamon Nee: Expensive big bales are not the answer.
Eamon Nee: Expensive big bales are not the answer.

BIG bale ‘imports’ into Connemara are just not working as the start to the grazing now looks set to go back to mid-May, a local farm leader claimed this week.

Galway IFA Hill Farming Chairman, Eamonn Nee, said that bringing in round bales of silage at ‘€50 a pop’ was not a practical solution to the fodder crisis in Connemara.

“No round bale is worth €50, while on top of that, many of the farmers in Connemara have neither the big tractors nor the terrain to move them about.

“We’ve said right from the start that the only way to provide real help to farmers in Connemara, and indeed across many other areas in the West of Ireland, was with the introduction of a meal voucher system,” said Eamonn Nee.

He said that the Department’s opposition to this proposal was based on some kind of fear that the scheme could be abused when it fact it would be very easy to police and supervise.

“This is a scheme that could be administered through the co-ops where all the purchases could be accounted for and receipted.

“This is the only type scheme that will work for hill farmers and for many other farmers in the West of Ireland. It’s practical, workable and policeable but we just can’t seem to get through our message to the Minister [Michael Creed],” said Eamonn Nee.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.