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Farming

Make a good start to the year

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Take soil samples before any slurry, farmyard manure or chemical fertiliser is spread this Spring.

By Anthony O’Connorl

A GOOD start is half the work . . . yes indeed, how true this saying is with 2015 in progress. Start the coming year right by having a plan to make the most of grass. Grass is the cheapest source of feed.

It is three times cheaper than silage and five times cheaper than concentrates. Aim to exploit the advantage of grass to the full by a long grazing season (target is 220 days) and an early turnout of stock.

Aim for high weight gain from grass throughout the season. Keep enough leafy grass in front of stock right throughout the grazing season to get good animal performance.

Soil Fertility: On any farm, grass supply and grazing season length is dependent on location, weather, stocking rate and soil type, but most importantly, on the fertility status of the soil on the farm.

Soil fertility is hugely influenced by soil pH (lime level), along with phosphorous (P), potassium (K) or Potash and adequate nitrogen (N) levels present in soils/applied during the growing season.

The level and balance of NPK is hugely important. Both P and K are essential for plant growth, for the uptake and utilisation of nitrogen by grass plants. Lime is the cement in the mix of NPK that makes them available to promote plant growth.

Ensure you have a correct level and balance of P, K and lime on your farm. Ideally, for maximum grass growth, a soil needs to be at P index 3 for P and K and have a pH 6.3 or greater in grassland.

Soil fertility in Galway: Teagasc in Co. Galway have recently done an analysis of soil samples taken in November 2014 and the results are worrying, especially for a county that is mainly involved in grassland production.

60% of soil samples were low in phosphorus P.  62% of soil samples were low in potassium K and 75% were low in lime. However when Teagasc looked in-depth at the soil results above more than 90% of the soils were low in either P, K or lime.

Soil Testing: Taking soil samples is the first step in soil fertility management. It is also an effective way of tackling fertiliser costs. It provides you with vital information about your soils and has to be the foundation of any fertilizer plan.

A standard soil test will give the soil fertility status for pH, lime requirement, phosphorous (P) and otash (K). While it might appear expensive to carry out a soil test, it costs in the region of €1.25/ha./year, tt is value for money, with the test being valid for five years.

Soil testing at €25/sample is money well spent and when you get the P, K and lime correct you can produce €300 worth of additional grass/ha each year. Ideally, samples should be taken by a professional agriculturist or someone trained to take soil samples.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

BPS cash being paid to farmers this week

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Anne Mitchell: TB costs need to be looked at.
Anne Mitchell: Payments cannot be held up.

THOUSANDS of farmers across the West of Ireland should have received 70% of their Basic Payment (BPS) this week, the Dept. of Agriculture has confirmed to the IFA.

The payments were scheduled from Monday morning last (October 18), although it may take up to three days before the money ‘arrives’ into farmers’ bank accounts.

Over 129,000 farmers across the country are eligible for the payments with the IFA urging the Dept. of Agriculture to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ due to inspection issues.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, told the Farming Tribune that given the critical importance of the Basic Payment, it was vital that no farmer be left behind.

“In terms of cashflow and income, this is the most vital payment of the year for farmers. It is crucial for their financial survival and the last thing we want is for any payments to be held up.

“It is absolutely vital that there be no delay with this payment and where there are uncompleted inspections cases, we want to ensure that this isn’t a cause of any delay in these farmers getting their money,” said Anne Mitchell.

IFA Deputy President, Brian Rushe, said that with nearly 130,000 farmers from all over the For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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South Galway flood relief project won’t begin until late 2023 at the earliest

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Cllr Joe Byrne at Newtown in Gort where flood levels regularly rise by 15 feet over the winter months.

IT will be at least another two years before there is any prospect of machinery moving in to begin vital flood alleviation works in South Galway – a problem that has impacted on hundreds of acres of land.

More than 25 years after the area was described as a disaster zone following floods that resulted in homes having to be evacuated and animals rescued by boats, the situation is still critical, according to local representatives.

And it has been revealed this week that there is no prospect of any flood relief measures taking place in the Tarmon and Kiltiernan areas, amongst others, near Gort within the next couple of years.

Various reports that were due to be published last year – while public consultations were also planned but Covid has been blamed for these not materialising.

It now hoped that these reports will be available in the latter half of 2022 and that a final design will then be made, but works will not commence until late 2023 at the earliest.

Even if flood relief works do start, which ultimately will result in rising waters being released out to sea, they will take a number of years to complete.

Local public representative and engineer Cllr. Joe Byrne (FG) said that the farmers and residents of South Galway are still at risk of flooding for at least four, if not five years.

Few in the area will ever forget the scenes of boats being deployed to rescue local residents, their belongings and farm animals, when the flooding situation reached crisis point back in the mid-1990s.

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

Smiles . . . but little else for farmers

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Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, before their presentation of Budget 2022 to the Dáil.

FARM leaders have described this week’s Budget 2022 as ‘underwhelming and disappointing’ for the Irish agricultural sector – with nothing new of any substance in the financial plan for the coming year.

The rollover of the different agricultural schemes – annually worth in the region of €600m – has been one of the few aspects of Budget 2022 that has been welcoming by the farming sector.

An overall budget allocation of almost €1.86 billion has been set aside for the Dept. of Agriculture next year in addition to almost €1.2 billion of EU direct-payment funding.

The farming sector had sought to have a percentage of the carbon tax allocated for the setting up of a new REPS II type environmental scheme – however, this hasn’t happened.

Chair of the IFA’s National Farm Business Committee, Rose Mary McDonagh, told the Farming Tribune that there was really nothing of any significance in the budget for the farming commuity.

“There was a commitment in the Programme for Government that a percentage of the carbon tax would be allocated for the establishment of a new REPS II type scheme but unfortunately this hasn’t happened.

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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