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Farm income outlook as bleak in 2013 as last year – Teagasc

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BY FRANCIS FARRAGHER

FARM leaders have expressed little surprise that farm incomes dropped by 15% in 2012, as revealed in last week’s Teagasc’s National Farm Survey.

The smaller suckler and sheep farmers across the West of Ireland took the biggest hit in income last year, and again most of it comes back to our disastrous weather year in 2012. In addition to the weather, lamb prices actually dropped last year.

And Teagasc are also predicting with the depletion in fodder stocks all over the country so far this year, that there will be negative implications for 2013 farm income.

Lower silage yields allied to poorer quality plus a serious increase in the quantity and cost of meal feeding also ‘bored holes’ in farmers’ cashflow during 2012, a trend that continued through the first four and a half months of this year.

Taking the big with the small, the average farm income in Ireland in 2012 was €25,483, a decrease of 15% from the previous year.

Dairy farmers continue to be the leading earners from farming with an average income of €51,648 but this contrasted starkly with the average income of just €11,743 on cattle rearing farms.

Dr Thia Hennessy, Head of the Teagasc National Farm Survey, said that while agricultural commodity prices remained relatively favourable in 2012, the inclement weather adversely affected production costs and crop yields.

“In particular, dairy farms were impacted by the wet Summer and direct costs of production increased by 21%. Many farmers depleted their stock of Winter fodder early last Autumn and this is likely to have further negative implications for income this year,” said Thia Hennessey.

Teagasc’s Brian Moran said that the survey highlighted large variations that exist across the different farming enterprises.

“The average income on dairy farms was €51,648, compared to just €11,743 on cattle rearing farms,” he said.

According to Teagasc, farming continues to remain highly reliant on direct support payments. The average direct payment per farm was €20,534 comprising 81% of farm income.

The Single Farm Payment –  currently the topic of negotiation in the ongoing Common Agricultural Policy talks – continues to be the most important component of direct payments. It comprises 58% of farm incomes on average and over 80% of income on cattle farms. 

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Farmers are advised to get early advice on 2023 Nitrates Derogation requirements

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Tighter limits in latest Nitrates Derogation requirements. Photo: Courtesy of Teagasc.

MORE intensively stocked farmers – the vast majority of them in the dairy sector – have been advised by the Minister for Agriculture to ‘engage as soon as possible’ with the Nitrates Derogation application process.

Charlie McConalogue also advised dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural advisors – given the new excretion rate bands applicable to dairy cows since January 1, 2023.

The Minister added that the Nitrates Derogation provided farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising water quality.

“The Nitrates Derogation is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.”

“All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment, particularly those farming more intensively.

“It is crucial that we protect and restore our waters as soon as possible to maintain the Nitrates Derogation at current levels into the future.

“Water quality is crucial to a healthy environment and farmers are keen to drive further improvements here,” said the Minister.

The Dept. of Agriculture has outlined the three bands applicable for dairy cows: 80kg N/cow; 92 kg N/cow; and 106 kg N/cow per year.  Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of a nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway farmers to meet on crisis in sheep

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David Harney: Common sense has prevailed.
Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney

GALWAY sheep farmers will get the chance to vent their feelings on the prices and cost crisis facing the sector at a meeting in Tuam next week.

The meeting – hosted by Galway IFA – will take place in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam, on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 8pm.

It follows a national meeting of sheep farmers in Athlone last month at which the problems facing the sector in terms of declining prices, rising costs and lack of Government aid were highlighted.

According to Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, information provided at the Athlone meeting by Teagasc specialists indicated a profitability level of only €7 per ewe for sheep farmers.

“This is absolutely flabbergasting. No member of society could work 24/7 and expect such a miserly return. Government support for the sheep industry is essential now in order to preserve the sector,” said Stephen Canavan.

Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney also stated that the recent government report into the wool industry had provided nothing to sheep farmers that would give confidence in the future.

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

Query over Department’s BVD Stats

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ALL may not be as the Dept. of Agriculture is painting it in relation to the prevalence of BVD in herds, according to a North Galway farmer who has contacted the Farming Tribune.

The farmer, from the Caltra area, who has a herd of 25 sucklers with no recent buy-ins, said that in the past year he had to have three calves put down due to BVD.

He said that while the Department of Agriculture were trying to paint a picture of BVD almost being eliminated from the national herd, this wasn’t the reality on the ground.

“This just isn’t the case on my farm – I now of other farmers who have lost animals due to BVD,” the farmer stated.

He said that he wanted to put the record straight as regards claims from Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, who had claimed that Ireland was now close to achieving ‘the goal of BVD freedom’.

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) was first recognised as a major disease problem in Irish herds when the first year of the BVD programme started.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, the incidence of the virus in tested animals stood at 0.66% while in 2022, this had dropped to 0.03%.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that while the overall national trend in the incidence of BVD was very encouraging, there could still be pockets of the disease in herds.

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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