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Farming

Dip and rise in sheep prices is on the way

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Sheep: fairly sold prospects over next 10 years.

THE Teagasc Sectoral ‘Road Map’ for sheep production in Ireland predicts a decline in the price of sheep meat ‘in the near-term’ followed by a recovery again in the run-up to 2025.

It also points out, that at present, the EU is currently 87% self-sufficient in sheep meat and that figure is projected to decline only marginally over the coming 10 years.

The ‘Road Map’ also advises that the industry as a whole would benefit from an ‘agreed quality based payment system for lamb carcases.

It also points out that margins from hill lamb production ‘are insufficient to maintain current levels of hill farming activity’.

Teagasc advises that given the role of sheep in the maintenance of the current hill and mountain landscapes, in the context of tourism and environmental perspectives, ongoing supports will be necessary.

“The provision of support to sheep farmers will be essential to the maintenance of current levels of hill sheep farming activity . . .

“The overall vision [for the sector as a whole] is for a lowland sheep sector that is competitive, grass-based and produces a product that meets consumer requirements.

“The hill sheep sector will need to be primarily supported for its role in maintaining the hill and mountain environment and the production of prolific ewes for the lowland flocks,” Teagasc predict.

Some of the other main points to emerge in the Teagasc 10-year look-ahead are:

■ Ireland is the fourth largest sheep meat producer in the EU, exporting 83% of production and is the largest net exporter of sheep meat.

■ The national flock figure currently stands at 2.4 million ewes and has recently stabilised followed a continued contraction since 1993.

■ The lowland sector accounts for 80% of the ewe population and 85% of the lamb carcass output. Sheep is primarily a ‘second enterprise’ on farms.

■ Last year there were 35,254 breeding flocks in Ireland with an average of 71 ewes per breeding flock. 20% of owners had flocks of 150 ewes or over.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Farm buildings can be used as business hubs in rural areas

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Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind)

RURAL farm buildings should be utilised for small business enterprises which would supplement the income of landowners as well as creating some local employment in the process.

This was the view of the vast majority of Galway councillors who passed a motion that buildings directly relating to farming be considered for other purposes that would be financially advantageous to the owners.

The matter came up for discussion at a meeting of the Galway County Development Plan when it was suggested that the farming community needed to be allowed develop small business opportunities.

A motion from Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind) – deviating slightly from Galway County Council policy – proposed that they be allowed carry out businesses such as the servicing and repair of machinery, land reclamation, drainage works, and agricultural contracting was carried.

The motion added that this be allowed where it is financially advantageous to locate in a given area and where it would not have an adverse impact on the environment.

The Williamstown councillor said that it could result in hundreds of small business enterprises being developed out of farm buildings.

“At the moment they cannot get planning permission for such enterprises given that they are located in a rural area,” he argued.

He was supported by Cllr. Pete Roche (FG) who went further by saying that even the establishment of pet farms or animal farms that could be opened up to the public were also options that could be considered.

“There are farm families at the moment who cannot earn a decent living out of agriculture alone and would relish the opportunity to diversify,” he added.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Slurry: don’t waste a drop

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Pat Murphy: Slurry never as valuable.

FARMERS have been strongly advised to get ‘absolute maximum use’ from their slurry this Spring – with little sign of a price reduction in bag fertiliser.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune, that it was never more important to get ‘every last bit’ of value from their slurry than it was this year*. He also advised that it probably was best for farmers purchasing fertilisers to ‘buy as you go’ in the hope that prices might come back a bit during the Summer.

“For the fertiliser that has already been manufactured during the peak of the high gas prices, we certainly don’t think that this is going to come down in price through the early Spring.

“We do know that natural gas prices have eased off over recent weeks, but we simply don’t know how much of an impact this will have on prices over the coming months.

“Most farmers will be looking at a reduction in the volume of fertilisers they are buying this Spring with urea selling at over €900 a tonne – so, maybe a buy as you go policy might be the best tactic,” said Pat Murphy.

He added that the current dry spell of weather – coinciding with the end of the closed season for spreading slurry in the west on January 15 last – was at least some good news for farmers with tanks full or almost full.

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

Dog attacks on sheep must be stopped

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David Harney, Galway IFA Sheep Representative, is calling for tighter controls on dog ownership and accountability.

RENEWED calls have been made this week to put tougher measures in place as regards dog attacks on sheep as the lambing season approaches.

Stricter imposition of the microchipping requirement along with tougher penalties for those who don’t comply with this – as well as tougher penalties for dog owners whose pets are found worrying sheep – have been called for.

Galway IFA Sheep Representative, David Harney, said that said that the number of dog attacks on sheep was grossly under-reported, due to the lack of action from authorities when sheep kills and sheep worrying were reported by farmers in the past.

“There are very few sheep farmers in the country who have not had the horrendous experience of finding their flock savaged by dogs, yet the official figures recorded only 241 such incidents in 2020,” he said.

Over the course of the past year, IFA representatives at national level met with Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, and Heritage Minister of State, Malcolm Noonan, to try and get tighter dog controls and sanctions in place.

For the past year or so, the IFA have put in place a ‘No Dogs Allowed’ policy on farms in an effort to get more action on the issue of dog controls in farming areas.

According to the IFA, there are an estimated 800,000 dogs in the Republic of Ireland but only 207,866 of them are licensed, leaving nearly 600,000 canines without identification of ‘association to a responsible keeper’.

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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