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Heavy rains of September ‘the last straw’ for Galway’s grain farmers’

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Very little by way of blue skies this season for the grain farmers of Galway.

“BAD yields, bad prices and rotten bad weather,” is how Galway IFA Grain Committee Chairman, John Daly, summed up the harvest season of 2016.

A difficult year for Galway grain growers has gotten much worse over the past week with the heavy rains and ensuring poor ground conditions, making harvesting next to impossible.

“The winter barley has been got but there’s at least 50% of the spring crop yet to be harvested and things are looking good for it. At this stage it’s just a salvage job,” said John Daly.

He estimates that yields this year – between 2.5 and 3 tonnes to the acre – are back by about 20% on last year’s harvest while there is also no good news on the prices front.

“We will be pressing hard to secure a price of €135 per tonne [barley at 20% moisture] but that’s not going to be easy, and even at that it’s very poor money.

“As bad as things were with yield and price, if the weather had picked up, then at least grain growers would be getting the chance to harvest their crops.

“September is turning out to be a very wet month and that’s the last thing we need. Already it has all the signs of being a long winter – ground conditions are  turning very soft,” said John Daly.

Globally, the downward pressure on grain prices continues. Record yields across parts of America and Russia are contributing to an over-supply in the market.

Russia, with a 72 million wheat harvest this year, has implemented a zero tax rate on wheat exports, to help ‘move on’ the crop, a move that will swell an already bloated market.

More locally, oats is expected to fetch about a ‘tenner’ more per tonne than barley, coming in at around the €140 to €145 mark.

Galway grain farmers grow an estimated 10,000 acres of corn but already farmers and merchants expect this figure to shrink significantly next year with most conacre growers likely to ‘pull plant’ after a series of loss making years.

Connacht Tribune

Ballinasloe to celebrate 300-years of fairs

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Niall Clarke, Kevin Murray, Sinead Manning, Thomas Gullane, Maeve Keegan, Kieran Egan, Ciara Croffey, Mary Phelan & Mal Croffey at the launch of the Ballinasloe Fair & Festival 2022.

THREE hundred years of horse fairs in Ballinasloe will be celebrated this coming weekend when the event returns following the Covid interruption of recent years.

The main equestrian days of the show are on this coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday with the Fairgreen being the place to be this weekend with every breed of horse and pony on display.

Connemaras, Trotting Ponies and Irish Draughts will all be featuring but apart from the horses, there’s also a full line-up of entertainment events.

Fun events, street stalls, fireworks, tug-o-war, street and vintage parades, arts and crafts, music and children’s events will all feature strongly over the weekend and into next week.

The fair is expected to attract in the region of 85,000 visitors from October 2 to 9, for an event that dates back to the early 1700s.

According to the fair organisers, while there is little detail available about the early days of the fair, the London Times reported in the late 1700s that the fair sold over 65,000 sheep and 6,500 cattle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Huge cow cull could be in the pipeline

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Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy

WESTERN farm leaders have expressed alarm at reports that the Government could be considering a massive cull of the suckler cow herd to meet climate change targets over the coming years.

The reports are based on documents released to the Irish Times newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act outlining the possibility of introducing a €2 billion farm retirement package to achieve the culling targets.

According to the documents, the reduction target in the suckler herd would be 700,000 (70% of the national herd) with 300,000 dairy cows also to be culled.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, said that such reports which were obviously based on Dept. of Agriculture documents were extremely worrying for all farmers across the country but especially so for the West of Ireland.

“We don’t have the land in the West of Ireland that can support extensive grain farms or dairy enterprises. There are issues with land quality and fragmented holdings which means that many parts of the region are only suited to mixed cattle and sheep enterprises,” said Pat Murphy.

He added that the most galling aspect of all the talk of cuts in the national herd, was that huge beef producing countries like Brazil would immediately fill any gap in the market resulting from a reduction in the Irish national herd.

“We are very small players in the world market, and even if the most extreme measures as regards culling were put in place across Ireland, it wouldn’t make one iota of a difference to the overall  world emissions from agriculture.

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

Changes agreed on TB testing regime

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Stephen Canavan: Six months test proposal is not on!
Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan

A PROPOSED six-months testing requirement for all bovine animals moving herds will now only apply to cows and males over 36-months old, following discussions over recent weeks between the Dept. of Agriculture and the IFA.

Initially it had been proposed by the Department that the six-months testing regime would be in place for all animals from next year, but the ‘age compromise’ has now been agreed.

However, another major issue now needs to be resolved as to who will pay for a second test when it comes to the sale of the older animals through the marts or from herd to herd.

According to Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, the compromise deal on the six-months testing requirement for the older animals – ‘while not ideal’ – was the best that could be achieved.

“The vast majority of mart sales or sales between farmers will involve animals which are under 36 months of age so at least some progress has been made on that issue.

“Now, the negotiations will switch to the issue of who will pay for any of the six-months tests where they apply, and the IFA are taking a very strong line on this.

“The agreement on payment always has been that farmers will only have to pay for one test per year and we will be insisting that this extends onto any seller who has to have a six-months’ test,” said Stephen Canavan.

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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