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Egyptian return is big boost to trade

Francis Farragher

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Thirteen-year-old Jason O'Reilly from Raford, Kiltulla, Athenry, got a surprise on the first day of his mid-term break, to find that his ewe, who had been scanned for three lambs, actually had four!

THE re-opening of the Egyptian market for Irish live cattle exports will be very good news for West of Ireland suckler and beef farmers, according to Galway IFA Livestock Committee Chairman, Michael Flynn.

Prior to the shutting down of the Egyptian market around 2,000 – due primarily to the BSE crisis – the Middle East country imported around 100,000 head of cattle each year from Ireland.

The closure of the Egyptian trade – along with the ending of the Libyan outlet due to instability in that country – has been a major body blow to the cattle trade in Ireland for over the past decade.

Earlier this month, Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, confirmed that following the report of an Egyptian veterinary delegation to Ireland, the market would be re-opening over the coming weeks and months.

The absence of a vibrant live export trade has been seen by IFA leaders as ‘playing into the hands’ of the meat plant monopoly situation in Ireland over recent years.

The Eygptians, according to Michael Flynn, are essentially interested in the better quality continentals or good quality Hereford crosses, ready for slaughter or very close to finishing.

“I can reassure farmers that this is very good news for the cattle trade. We really have been missing a strong live export outlet to provide competition for the factories – this is a very important development for the beef sector,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that the boats were ‘ready and waiting’ to move the cattle out of Ireland while Egypt was a country with a proven track record in terms of paying up front for any stock they imported.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Agri-Business

Farmers losing out on beef grading machines

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Deputy Denis Naughten

Beef farmers could be losing up to €168 per head due to the lack of accuracy on mechanical beef grading machines in meat plants across the country.

That’s according to local Deputy Denis Naughten, on foot of figures he obtained on the accuracy of these beef grading machines.

The figures show that Department inspectors have found machines to be out by a factor of at least 10% on 119 occasions over the last 18 months

Deputy Naughten pointed out that the legal tolerance limit set for beef grading machines currently in use in meat plants is a mere 60% accuracy.

Even though the Department inspectors found them to be out by at least 10% on 119 occasions, on only eight occasions was mechanical grading suspended because the machines had to be getting the grades wrong on four out of every ten cattle.

“The mechanical grading machines in use in beef plants across the country today were first trialled and tested 20 years ago by Teagasc,” said the Roscommon/Galway TD.

“At that time google was just invented and people needed an encyclopaedia if we wanted to look something up.

“Technology has changed a lot in 20 years and we now need new hi-tech beef grading machines and new modern rules to operate them so they can accurately reflect the actual grade of the animal. These new rules then need to be properly enforced by Departmental officials to ensure that farmers will not be exploited,” he added.

See full story in this week’s Farming Tribune. The Connacht Tribune is on sale now, or you can get our digital edition here.

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Connacht Tribune

Call for a policy review as TB figures shoot up

Francis Farragher

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Stephen Canavan: Farmers paying the price for TB failings.

THE Dept. of Agriculture must take a fundamental look at where things are going wrong with their bovine TB (bTB) eradication scheme, following the publication of the latest figure showing another increase in the spread of the disease.

Galway IFA Animal Health Committee Chairman, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that the latest figures released by the Department were alarming, showing a major increase in the incidence of the disease in the first six months of 2020 as compared to the same period last year.

For the first six months of 2020, there were 9,439 reactors were identified in the Republic of Ireland, up 2,350 as compared to the same period last year – an increase of 33%.

Parts of Galway continue to be hard hit by disease most notably in a strip of the county from the Mayo/Roscommon border to south of Athenry – and in a strip of South Galway extending through central Clare.

“TB outbreaks have been very bad news for many farmers across Galway and especially suckler farmers who find their herds locked up for long periods of time.

“Farmers are doing everything that’s being asked of them but the time has come for the Department to have a fundamental look at what’s going wrong.

“They have to have a look again at their policy on wildlife and its role in the spread of the disease. Their strategy is simply not working and farmers are paying the price in the hardship and financial cost of having herds locked up,” said Stephen Canavan.

He also said that there was a need to review the level of compensation being paid to farmers for reactors while there were ongoing laboratory delays in giving final confirmations of whether an animal had TB or not.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

New REPS is key to survival

Francis Farragher

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Pictured is IFA President Tim Cullinan in Connemara with the 12 Pins in the background along with Gerry Gunning, Executive Secretary IFA Hill Committee; Pat Murphy, Connacht IFA Chairman; Caillin Conneely, Chairman Connemara IFA; Anne Mitchell, Chairperson Galway IFA; Flor McCarthy, National Chairman, IFA Hill Committee; Tim Cullinan; Eamon Nee, Galway IFA Hill Committee Chairman; Michael Biggins, IFA National Chairman Rural Development Committee; Martin Mannion, Connemara IFA and Rose Mary McDonagh, National Chairperson IFA Farm Business Committee.

A MEANINGFUL environmental scheme to replace GLAS – with the maximum payment doubling to €10,000 – is a main priority of the IFA, the Association’s President, Tim Cullinan told farmers on a visit to the West earlier this month

He said that such a scheme must recognise the contribution farmers make to protecting the environment and the provision of public good.

The IFA President said that further SAC designations were unacceptable and he called on the new Minister for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan to immediately clarify the position of the National Parks and Wildlife service.

“Farm incomes are under serious pressure and the value of direct payments are vital to the survival of farming in peripheral areas. Supports to farm income alongside production is what hill farmers need,” he said.

“It is only through a combination of cattle and sheep production, direct payments and a strong environmental scheme in the forthcoming CAP negotiations that this will be achieved.

“Hill sheep production is the main enterprise among the 30,000 farmers who farm and protect the environment in hill and mountain grazing areas,” said Tim Cullinan.

He also warned that the impact of a no-deal Brexit would be felt on all farms and particularly the most vulnerable ones such as in mountain and hill areas. The IFA were now seeking Government commitments on the following five issues:

■ A meaningful environmental scheme to replace GLAS with the maximum payment doubling to €10,000.

■ The new REPS scheme promised in the Programme for Government must be added to any CAP agri-environmental scheme and must reward farmers for sequestering carbon.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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