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Wild deer pose next TB threat to cattle

Francis Farragher

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Like a hen minding the eggs, this majestic sycamore casts her leafy wings over the black bags of silage that will provide sustenance for the cattle during the coming winter near Maam in Connemara. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

WHILE badger controls have resulted in major falls in the incidence of TB in cattle over recent years, a senior Galway IFA officer has warned that deer could pose the next major obstacle in trying to rid the country of the scourge.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee representative and former National Chairman of the IFA Animal Health Committee, Michael Flynn, said that the increase in wild deer numbers in a number of counties, including Galway, now posed a real disease threat.

He told the Farming Tribune that recent tests of wild deer in Wicklow showed that up to 16% of them were infected with TB.

“This is a very worrying indicator and with such an increase in deer numbers across parts of Galway, this is a matter that requires serious attention,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that while a national Deer Forum had been established, there were concerns at the slowness of the group to address the issues involved.

“There are many parts of East and South Galway where wild deer numbers have grown significantly over recent years. This growth is causing problem not only in relation to animal disease but also in the areas of damage to crops and as a danger on our roads,” said Michael Flynn.

He said that while Galway over recent years had mirrored the rest of the country in terms of a drop in the incidence of bovine TB, there was no room for complacency, especially where new threats were emerging.

Mr. Flynn said that overall the disease situation as regards cattle in Ireland was an improving one with the recent isolated single case of BSE having little impact on the Irish beef trade.

“What the detection of BSE in this single animal has shown is that our controls and checks are among the most stringent in the world. This is reassuring for everyone,” said Michael Flynn.

Earlier this summer, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, told the Dáil that in Northern Ireland where badger culling wasn’t prioritised, the incidence of bovine TB was twice that of the Republic.

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.

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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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