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A great return from the Galway grain crops but prices remain dismal

Francis Farragher

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Fleming Agri-contrators making the most of the fine weather at Murray's field in Mountbellew as they bale the straw after the combine. Photo: David Walsh.

‘Great yields but poor prices’ has summed up the mood of Galway grain growers as their harvest work has received a boost with the recent spell of settled weather.

Some spring barley growers achieved unprecedented yields of over four tonnes to the acre while the spring crops are also expected to deliver three tonnes, or even a bit more, to the acre.

However the prices scenario continues to remain depressed for the grain sector with many of them represented at last week’s IFA incomes protest in Dublin last week.

Green barley at 20% moisture is making in the region of €150 per tonne but even with the higher yield the grain men are struggling to break even on this figure.

Downward pressure on grain prices in world markets is the main problem for the Galway and Irish grain growers as they bargain with the merchants to try and secure the best possible deals.

“The yields have been very good this year with over four tonnes to the acre returned for spring barley but at current prices no one is making any money from the harvest. Break even is the best we can hope for,” Galway IFA Grain Representative, John Daly told the Farming Tribune.

The Killconnell grain farmer said that what was crippling the grain farmers was the high cost of inputs, especially fertiliser, and the low prices on offer.

“We really would need to be buying in fertiliser at about €100 a tonne less than what we’re paying at present for it. With the current cost of inputs, it’s just impossible to make any money from grain,” said John Daly.

He attributed the strong yields this year to a very benign April [our best month of the year so far] that gave excellent growing conditions in terms of sunshine and soil temperatures.

“Although the rest of our summer was poor, the grain crops got a tremendous early boost from the weather in April. We certainly have no complaints about the yields but the figures at the end of the season just aren’t adding up,” said John Daly.

All of the winter barley crops in Galway have been cut for the past three weeks or so with the combines now in full swing harvesting the spring crops.

IFA National Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said that the EU Commission must act now to stem the deepening income crisis developing on tillage farms. Failure to control undue influence by speculative investors on grain and oilseed prices, and anti-competitive practices by fertiliser manufacturers, is compounding the income situation, he said.

“Harvest prices for the third year in a row will struggle to cover production costs, despite good yields, as investors bet on international grain and oilseed prices moving lower.

Farmers will once again end up subsidising grain production from their basic/greening payment or other reserves that are well depleted this stage following on from a prolonged period of low grain prices,” said Liam Dunne.

He said that the relentless price/cost squeeze was negatively impacting on the tillage sector and unless there was a serious realignment of the cost base, arable crop farming would have a limited future in Europe, never mind Ireland.

Connacht Tribune

Locals thanked for demo backing

Francis Farragher

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Anne Mitchell: Great local support.

GALWAY IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, has thanked the people of Athenry and surrounding areas for their support during Friday’s Action Day protest.

She told the Farming Tribune that the demonstration was planned to cause ‘absolute minimal disruption’ to the people, schools and businesses of the town as well as being conscious of Covid restrictions.

“We really didn’t want anyone on the streets because of the Covid situation and we also advised that where there was more than one person in a vehicle, and not from the same household, that they would wear masks,” said Anne Mitchell.

She said that they were also acutely aware of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations were going on in schools around the town which dictated their decision to stage the protest between 11am and 12 noon.

However, one concerned parent who contacted this newspaper, said that the honking of horns could be heard by those who were doing their Leaving Cert geography exam on Friday.

“While I do understand the reasons behind the protest, I just think that the honking of horns should have been left out it, while an exam was in progress,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry’s action day a wake-up call for the West

Francis Farragher

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The tractorcade is ready to roll in Athenry on Friday in the IFA protest over farm viability and the Climate Action Bill.

AN estimated ‘200 plus’ tractors, cars and jeeps took part in Friday’s IFA ‘Action Day’ protest in Athenry aimed at highlighting major problems coming down the track with the ‘new CAP’ and the Climate Action Bill.

Connacht IFA Chairperson, Pat Murphy, said that they were delighted with the turnout and also with the positive reception they received from the people of Athenry.

“If farming and agriculture go to the wall in rural Ireland it will sound the death-knell for our provincial and villages too.

“We really do need our politicians to wake up to the fact that decisions made over the coming weeks or months could decide the future of rural Ireland as we know it,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that an agenda being driven by the Green Party to drastically reduce the numbers of suckler cows, dairy cows and cattle across Ireland would have a catastrophic impact on Irish agriculture, unless amendments were made to the Climate Action Bill.

“If Irish farmers are prevented in producing the food that’s accepted as being probably the most environmentally friendly and traceable product across the world, then that gap will be filled by countries like Brazil where rain forests are being cut down every single day of the year,” said Pat Murphy.

He also said that the negotiations on CAP coming up at the end of this month would also have huge implications for farming and especially so in the West of Ireland where farms were so dependent on direct payments.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Minister outlines ‘tough road ahead’

Francis Farragher

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Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue

A CRITICAL part of the eventual CAP deal for farmers will rest with the flexibility of the Irish Government to make its own decisions on where the money will be allocated, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, told the Farming Tribune last week.

During a whistle-stop tour of a number of agri-related projects in Galway last Thursday, Minister McConalogue said that as things stood, the major stumbling block to an agreement was the European Parliament.

“There are really two aspects of this deal which will be of vital importance to Irish farmers over the coming years – the flexibility to make our own decisions and the percentage of the funding to be spent on ECO schemes,” said Charlie McConalogue.

He said that while some progress had been made at the end of last month’s Trilogue negotiations [EU Commission, Council and European Parliament], it had not been possible to reach an agreement.

“As things stand, what’s blocking a final agreement is the European Parliament part of that Trilogue. We are trying to reach compromises on the issue of convergence, and the ECO scheme element of the payments, but this hasn’t been possible with the parliament so far,” said the Minister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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