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Wicked May left farmers grouchy

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Saorla Gallagher, with her puppy at the Tesco Charity Dog Show in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital held in Ballinasloe on Sunday. PHOTO: HANY MARZOUK.

IF, as a farmer, you felt a little grouchy over the weather last month, well you had good reason to be . . . as we all endured one of our wettest, coldest and dullest months for years.

It’s only this week that farmers are ‘getting into the run of the summer and the silage season’ as we are getting our best spell of weather since last April – May though was horribly cold and wet too.

Temperatures in Galway were roughly 1.3° Celsius lower than the normal for the month while rainfall of 128.4mms. (over five inches) at the NUI Galway Weather Station, gave us our wettest May since 2009.

The average May temperature recorded at the NUI Galway Automatic Weather Station was 10.1°C – that’s 1.3 degrees below the average for the fifth month of the year in Galway as recorded in Frank Gaffney’s Climate of Galway records.

According to those records the month just gone by was our coldest May since 1996 and our third coldest on record since 1978.

It was a very poor month for grass growth with soil temperatures across most of the West of Ireland again slipping under the 12° Celsius mark – the figure needed for optimum summer growth.

Some dairy farmers had to house their cows during some of the colder and wetter spells in May with milk yields also impacted on.

Galway IFA Dairy Chairman, Charlie Whiriskey, said that farmers on heavier lands were most affected by the poor conditions through May.

“It was a cold and wet month with poor enough growth. The proof is just not there either in the wet grass – we’re all hoping for a bit of a lift through June,” said Charlie Whiriskey.

Although June started on a wicked enough note – with the winds, rain and cold of the Bank Holiday Monday (June 1) – our first decent spell of high pressure has arrived this week, facilitating many first cuts of silage.

Contractors though have reported early cuts of silage to be ‘light enough’, again impacted on by the cold soil conditions that lasted all through May.

To cap off the awful May we had, Met. Éireann also reported that it was also our dullest for many years – Knock Airport in Mayo had its cloudiest fifth month since the weather station opened there in 1996.

Abbeyknockmoy weather recorder, Brendan Geraghty, had his wettest May since 2009 with 4.71 inches of rainfall, nearly double that of the April total.

The three wettest days of the month, he recorded, were the 4th (1.05 inches); the 10th (0.65 inches) and the 2nd (0.59 inches).

“It really was a pretty miserable month. It was wet, cold and dull – there was hardly any growth either, so it wasn’t a good month for the gardener or the farmer.

“I suppose if we have one memory from the month, it’s that of seeing people outdoors, wearing their jackets, caps and gloves. It was a miserable May,” said Brendan Geraghty.

Connacht Tribune

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

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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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

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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