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Farming

Suckler changes nod from Minister

Francis Farragher

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Having fun in a field of barley at the launch of the Mountbellew Annual Vintage Rallythat takes place on this Sunday, July 26 were friends Oisín Crehan and Rebecca Regan with Megan, Caitlin and Michaela Flynn.

WITH the scent of an election coming into the air, the IFA will be seeking to get more modifications to the new suckler scheme, in addition to the ones announced last week.

Changes in the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme (BDGS) confirmed to the IFA last week by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney have been welcomed as steps in the right direction by farm leaders.

But there is still growing concern that many smaller farmers in the West of Ireland will opt to stay out of the scheme because of what are described as its draconian conditions.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Flynn told the Farming Tribune that concessions secured last week by the IFA were ‘a step in the right direction’ but that more common sense modifications needed to be made.

“All along, we’ve made it perfectly clear to the Minister that some aspects of this scheme clearly need to be change or quite simply it will not work. We’re hopeful that with an election more changes can be made,” said Michael Flynn.

According to IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman, Henry Burns, the following changes to the original scheme were agreed last week by Minister Coveney.

Regarding the six year obligation, if a farmer applicant sells or leases land, or transfers by inheritance or gift and as a result leaves the scheme, there will be no clawback of funds.

In relation to the replacement requirement for 4 and 5 star animals born after 2013 to be at a level of 20% by 2018 and 50% by 2018, the Dept. will now allow all 4 and 5 star animals currently in the herd, to be included.

The Minister has also confirmed that for new entrants, 2015 may be used instead of the 2014 reference year. If force majeure (unusual adverse circumstances) applies to 2014 stocking rates, a flexible ‘case by case’ approach will be applied by the Dept.

Michael Flynn said that while these concessions were welcome, there were now a few other key areas where the Minister could make common sense changes to the scheme to the benefit of everyone.

“We want to see 3 star animals to be eligible as well as the 4 and 5 star ones – many 3 star animals are of a very high standard.

“The 60% genotyping requirement in the scheme is set way too high while the cost of €30 per animal for genotyping testing needs to be halved.

“A few very sensible and easy to implement further modifications to the scheme would make a huge difference to its uptake.

“Maybe with an election on the way, it might help to focus the Minister’s attention on these issues,” said Michael Flynn.

 

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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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.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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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

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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