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Farmers facing wipe-out following latest wave of Department inspections

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Cllr. Joe Byrne . . . wants commonage payments restored. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

MORE than 300 farmers turned up to a meeting in South Galway at which they heard the devastating news that they could lose thousands of euro in payments.

Farmers with commonages in the areas of Slieve Aughty, Derrybrien and Peterswell fear that their entitlements will be eroded by the Department of Agriculture.

Pressure is now being applied on the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to intervene so that commonages can be maintained and not become overgrown.

It has been claimed that in some cases farmers who graze commonage in South Galway area could lose as much as €6,000 in Disadvantaged Areas Scheme payment.

That is a significant part of their annual income from agriculture. The average farm income is around €25,000.

In the case of the commonage in Castledaly, the area of land from which they claimed payments has been reduced from 97% to 42% – eroding the incomes of some 80 farmers in the process.

Cllr. Joe Byrne from Kinvara said that there were a lot of angry farmers out there and many who feel that their livelihood is in jeopardy.

He said that the Department were using aerial photography to justify why they were reducing the eligible areas for claiming farm payments.

If the Department were to apply the same criteria across the West of Ireland where there are thousands of acres of commonage, many farmers would be put on the breadline.

Cllr. Byrne said that a large portion of commonage was located in Special Areas of Conservation and that this was being removed from the eligible areas for claiming. This is something that the IFA were resisting.

Farmers in Connemara and West Mayo, where there are huge tracts of commonage, are facing crippling reductions in their farm payments from the Department of Agriculture.

Last year there was uproar in the Slieve Aughty area when 50 commonage farmers had their payments held up as a result of inspections carried out.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Time to think of next Winter’s feed

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Fertiliser: Less will have do more in 2022.

START planning ahead now for the winter feeding season of 2022/23 – that’s the advice from a Galway IFA representative as some fertiliser prices edge close to the €1,000 a tonne mark.

Dairy farmer and Galway IFA Environment Representative, Henry Walsh, told the Farming Tribune that the long-term worry as regards fertiliser price and supply, was the impact it could have on next winter’s feed supplies.

“Everyone will get through the summer period okay but the worry is that with less fertiliser use, there will be a scarcer supply of winter feed   by next Autumn.

“There’s an awful lot of uncertainty out there about how fertiliser prices will pan out over the coming month and also about their supply and availability,” said Henry Walsh.

Although natural gas prices – one of the big cost drivers in fertiliser production – have dropped significantly since before Christmas, they are still around three times higher than they were this time last year.

According to Henry Walsh, a limited supply of urea is being bought at around €920/€930 per tonne with protected urea very difficult to source.

He said that 18.6.12 had been sold at around €775 per tonne but added that this price was likely to increase when new stocks arrived in the country over the coming weeks and months.

“Farmers need to plan ahead now for next Winter. They need to test their land for lime; make the absolute maximum use of every drop of slurry they have; and maybe in cases even consider a modest reduction in stock numbers,” said Henry Walsh.  Countries like Russia, he added, were restricting exports of fertiliser on the basis of conserving supplies for themselves.

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.

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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

The way we were – back in 2010

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Joe O'Shaughnessy captured this scene in 2010 as Mattie Lydon tended to his cattle in Moycullen.

OKAY, so we might have moaned about some bouts of wind and rain over the holiday period gone by . . . but it’s all a long way removed from what we went through during one awful December in 2010.

Connacht Tribune staff photographer, Joe O’Shaughnessy, has resurrected some pictures he took of a frozen Galway countryside back in the run-up to Christmas in 2010 when frozen pipes, iced roads, and houses without water, were the order of the day.

Coincidentally, 10 years prior to that – in December 2000 – we also took something of a hammering from the weather with frost, snow and ice also dominating our rural landscape during the latter part of that month.

However, it was the Winter of 2010 that broke all records in terms of severe frosts, heavy snows and the sheer longevity of the harsh weather which brought untold hardship for householders and farmers across the region. An article in the Connacht Tribune of Friday, January 7, 2011, documented what people had gone through the previous December.

“The mean temperature for December [2010], as officially recorded in Galway city [by the late Frank Gaffney] was  (minus) -0.2° Celsius – a whopping 7°C below the average for the last month of the year,” the report recalled.

Conditions got particularly extreme on the week of December 18 to 25, 2010, when there were ‘seven savage nights of frost’ with temperatures ranging from -8° Celsius to -15° Celsius.

At the time, Frank Gaffney recalled in the report of the Connacht Tribune, that such extremes of cold hadn’t featured on any records ‘up until now and hopefully wouldn’t be matched again’. He summed up the month as follows:

“The days before Christmas did the real damage with the frost penetrating deep into the ground – the severity of those frosts, one on top of the other, just had to do damage.”

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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