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Collective agreement issue still not sorted

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John Rabbitt and John Creaven from Ardrahan at the Teagasc Farm Walk on Michael Fahy’s farm in Caherduff, Ardrahan last week. PHOTO: HANY MARZOUK.

A ‘CLEAR the air’ statement last week by Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, on the hill/commonage crux is only ‘a step in the right direction’ and doesn’t tackle the core problem of the 50% collective agreement clause.

That’s according to Connemara Hill Farmer representatives who plan to picket the Castlebar office of Taoiseach Enda Kenny ‘into the foreseeable future’ unless there’s a Government concession on the collective agreement clause.

Last week, Minister Coveney announced that the maintenance grazing requirement for marginal lands for the Single Farm Payment would be equivalent to one ewe per 1.5 hectares of land (3.7 acres).

He said that a lower level would apply where this stocking rate could not be justified on environmental grounds – that part of Minister Coveney’s statement has been welcomed by the hill farmers.

Minister Coveney said above that maintenance level, the management of the grazing requirement would be a matter for the individual claimants, provided the commonage was kept in good condition and met all the requirements of the Basic Payment Scheme.

He also said that there would be substantial flexibility granted to the shareholders joining GLAS as regards the management of the grazing requirement.

Connemara IFA Regional Chairman, Brendan Joyce, told the Farming Tribune that while the maintenance grazing announcement by the Minister was ‘a step in the right direction’ the problem with the 50% collective agreement clause was still unresolved.

“What we would see as a potential solution to this problem is for the Minister to accept a pledge or commitment over the course of the GLAS plan from the hill/commonage farmers to seek the 50% collective agreement.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Cattle trade still going strong

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Micheál Haverty: Strong demand fuelling market.

A BUOYANT cattle trade looks set to continue through the Summer with marts reporting a very strong demand for stock – and especially so for quality animals ‘up the weights’.

With demand outweighing supply in key markets such as the UK, EU and China, cattle prices are expected to harden even further over the coming weeks.

Factory prices for steers and heifers are coming in at the meat plants this week at between €4.20 to €4.30 per kg as the factories are finding it difficult to source cattle to meet customer orders.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Representative, Micheál Haverty, said that while the market situation for both cattle and sheep was quite encouraging, it needed to be, given the increase in input costs.

“There have been significant increases in price for fertiliser, fuel – and especially meal – which has taken a real hike.

“But at least with prices having increased for livestock, farmers will be in a position to meet those extra costs but margins are still very tight,” said Micheál Haverty.

Another encouraging sign, he said, was that prices had ‘hardened’ for cattle even before the latest lifting of restrictions relating to the coronavirus.

“Having said that, we are delighted to see the restaurant, hospitality and catering trade coming back to some sort of normality here at home.

“We know that there is a huge demand for locally produced, high-quality beef and lamb – the re-opening of this sector will also be a boost for competition,” said Micheál Haverty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Miracle of the lost sheep in heart of Connemara

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Five of the Cladoirs at the National Park in Letterfrack.

AN extinct breed of sheep – written off as not hardy enough for the challenging Connemara landscape – has now officially re-emerged after a quarter of a century on the missing list!

The Cladoir species were native to Connemara, but post-Famine they were pushed out to the margins – literally to the water’s edge on the west coast – as other breeds found favour with farmers and land owners.

In fact their name, Cladoir, translates as shore dweller, and in their prime, they were kept mainly for their long wool, as opposed to their meat, before the Famine.

But in the 1850s, British breeds were introduced to the mountains, where they thrived, pushing native Cladoir sheep towards south Connemara. They survived around the coast in small numbers.

An agricultural researcher studied them at a research station in Maam in the 1980s, but the small flock was dispersed after he retired. The breed was deemed effectively extinct in 1995.

However, retired agricultural adviser Seán Cadden and Tom King, a farmer from Westport, were enchanted by the Cladoir story and made enquiries in South Connemara about the sheep.

They managed to assemble a small flock of Cladoir-like sheep, which were then purchased by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. A number of other Cladoir-like sheep were also purchased by the National Park last year.

Last autumn, 65 sheep from this flock were sampled for a DNA test; 56 of those including males and females had significant DNA of a distinct breed – the Cladoir DNA.

Their return from oblivion was officially recognised at the weekend when Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, visited Connemara National Park on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

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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

Locals thanked for demo backing

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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.

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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