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Galway TB stats on the decline

Francis Farragher

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Greyhound trainer Kevin Connolly takes his dogs for a walk near Atherny. Photograph: Hany Marzouk.

THE incidence of Bovine TB in Galway continues to decline although stubborn pockets of the disease still remain in the county, according to the latest figures available.

For the first nine months of his year, the percentage of Galway herds that were restricted due to TB stood at 2.26%, slightly higher than the national average of 2.06%.

The figures – provided to the Farming Tribune by Galway IFA Livestock Committee Chairman, Michael Flynn – showed that there were 763 reactors in the county from January to September this year.

Out of a total of 8,725 herds tested in Galway up to the end of September, 197 of them were restricted due to TB.

Back in 2008 the incidence of TB in Galway herds stood at 5.61% but since 2014 that figure has been under 3% and is on target to be at its lowest ever in 2016.

However, according to Michael Flynn, the ‘perfect scenario’ of Ireland being declared ‘TB free’ is still a long way off with 2030 put forward as a target date by some Department officials.

“What we are seeing are incidences of TB where roads or major development work has taken place and the wildlife has been disturbed.

“Over the past year or so, we’ve seen that with the motorway development from Gort down towards Tuam, where little pockets of the disease have emerged,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that the cycle of the disease in badgers needed to be broke with a cull of the infected animals followed by a comprehensive vaccination programme.

“This really is the only way that we will make progress in finally eradicating a disease that has cost farmers and the State hundreds of millions of euro down through the years,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that the Bovine TB eradication programme had now gone on for over a half a century and while the figures were ‘going the right way’ there was still a long way to go in terms of Ireland being declared TB free.

 

Connacht Tribune

Replanting is the way to go after felling

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TONY LENIGHAN of the Western Forestry Co-op looks at the dos and don'ts of what’s involved when replanting is on the agenda.

A lot of private forest owners have harvested their trees and reaped the reward of strong timber prices in the last year, and you may be wondering, how or when, to replant your land and what are the options.

Firstly, forest land is a valuable asset and should be replanted for both yourself and the next generation.

You can replant with the same trees if you were happy with the return or change to a mix of species, but this very much depends on the soil type and quality – a forester such as myself can advise you on this.

You must also check the replanting conditions that came with your felling licence – we can help advise here if you are not happy with those conditions.

An important point is the sooner replanting is completed after clearfell, the less maintenance it will cost you in the long-term.

Western Forestry Co-op provide two different options for forest owners. The first is for initial establishment to include mounding/windrowing, good quality trees, planting and fertilising.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Bidders are back at mart ringsides

Francis Farragher

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Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell

THE return of buyers in-person to the mart rings from Monday, May 17 next, has been welcomed by farm representatives as an important step in the return to more normal trading.

Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, confirmed last week that the buyers would be allowed back both at ringside and to view stock in pens – but only by prior appointment with mart.

Buyers must wear suitable face coverings and maintain a strict two-metre social distancing space while marts have also been advised that they must take steps to prevent any congregation of people in their car-parks or at entry points to their premises.

IFA Livestock Chairman, Brendan Golden, who welcomed the announcement of the buyers returning to the ringside said that he also hoped sellers could also be facilitated from May 17 next – with all public health protocols and guidelines to be observed.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the coming back of the buyers to the ring was an important first step in a return to some sense of normality at the mart sales and she also called for consideration to be given to the return of sellers to the ring as well.

“The return of the buyers is good news for everyone and we are hoping that shortly the sellers can be accommodated too. It goes without saying that it is incumbent on everyone to adhere strictly to all the public health guidelines that are in place,” said Anne Mitchell.

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

Scheme will require a long list of specific actions from participants

Francis Farragher

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The benefits of hedgerows to the environment are highlighted in the pilot REAP scheme graphic, such as support for wildlife, crop protection, the provision of shelter/shade, flood control and as an absorber of carbon.

THE Results-based Environmental-Agri Pilot (REAP) is a two-year project that is based on the model used in the Burren Programme and others such as Hen Harrier and Pearly Mussel projects, according to the Dept. of Agriculture.

In their official booklet on the scheme, the Dept. point out that REAP differs from the ‘prescription based’ model used in GLAS – instead farmers are ‘rewarded’ by linking payments to the quality of environmental outcomes delivered.

The Dept. point out that in REAP, grassland, field margins and field boundaries are scored using indicators which reflect the environmental value of these features.

“This approach has the effect of creating a market for environmental services including: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water quality and soil health.

“[The scheme] will provide an opportunity and incentive for farmers to earn payments for managing their farmland in an environmentally friendly manner in tandem with our need to produce high quality food,” the Dept. state.

Some of the key elements in the ‘farm with nature’ philosophy outlined in REAP are: measures to save bee species; good buffer zones at watercourses; incorporating legumes (peas and beans) into reseeds; nurturing taller vegetation; a three-year cycle of hedge cutting rather than an annual one; enhancing field margins and hedgerows; and the restoration of dry-stone walls (no cement to be used).

In terms of low-input grassland, a suitable field for entry into the scheme is described as one that receives low levels of fertiliser (both chemical and organic); a low ryegrass cover (under 30%); and a minimum of four grass species.

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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