Opening dates for slurry spreading are ‘unworkable’ – ICSA

AGRILAND – 13 JANUARY 2017

The Department of Agriculture has been called on by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) to adopt a more common sense approach to slurry spreading dates.

The call comes as the slurry spreading ban ended on January 12 this week for counties in parts of the south and east of the country.

ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock said that calendar farming restrictions for slurry spreading are proving unworkable and unrealistic and most frustrating for farmers.

Farmers in Zone A can commence spreading from today, with farmers in Zones B and C permitted to commence after January 15 and January 31 respectively.

Focusing on this week’s inclement weather Sherlock said that many parts of the country are experiencing weather conditions which are completely incompatible to slurry spreading.

“It may be weeks before conditions improve by which time many important farming schedules will have been delayed.”

On the contrary, the milder and dryer weather over the last number of weeks would have been ideal, yet our hands were tied.

Sherlock said that at all times, farmers are working and planning with a close eye on the weather and ground conditions in order to comply with best farming practice in terms of efficiency, animal welfare and environmental concerns.

“Fixed artificial deadlines at the beginning and end of the slurry spreading season goes against all that, and the legislators must surely recognise the wisdom in being more flexible on this issue.”

In order to comply with the EU’s Nitrates Directive, slurry, farmyard manure, and chemical fertilisers are prohibited from being spread over the winter in Ireland.

The aim of the closed period is to protect ground and surface water, including drinking water.

The regulations also prohibit the spreading of slurry at any time of the year when the ground is frozen, waterlogged or heavy rain is forecast in order to prevent slurry running off into waterways.

Coalition of Irish farmers and environmentalists call for CETA to be rejected

 AGRILAND – 13 JANUARY 2016

A coalition of Irish farmers, environmentalists, trade unionists and small business organisations have called on MEPs to oppose the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Over 80 Irish civil society groups, including the ICSA, are calling on MEPs to reject the CETA trade deal at the final vote on the trade deal in the European Parliament on February 14.

The groups co-signed a letter to members of the European Parliamentary Environment Committee calling for rejection of the deal earlier this week. However, the committee recommended that the MEPs vote for the deal in February.

Signatories to the letter came from a number of different sectors and included the ICSA (Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association), the Environmental Pillar and the International Small Business Alliance.

Patrick Kent, President of the ICSA said that the deal would be problematic for Ireland.

The committee’s vote is deeply disappointing given their remit for public health, food safety and the environment.

He said that 5% of Canadian farmers produce nearly half of Canada’s food produce.

“So that’s the scale of operators that our small, and more quality oriented farmers will be competing with – with Canada’s different and lower standards on the use of antibiotics, steroids and hormones in animals destined for the food chain.”

Professor John Sweeney, from the Board of An Taisce, also expressed serious concerns.

“A key concern is how the fear of being sued under CETA and how other elements of the deal will compromise essential action on climate change by Governments and the EU.”

The vote in favour of the CETA is a nail in the coffin of effective climate action.

Under the trade agreement, the total duty-free access the EU will grant to Canada for fresh and frozen beef is 50,000t, which can be broken down in to 15,000t of frozen beef, 30,838t of fresh/chilled beef and 4,162t of fresh beef.

Canada will also be granted a duty-free access for 75,000t of pork, which will be added to the existing WTO quota of 4,625t and consolidated into CETA to simplify the administration of this quota.

Under the trade agreement, EU beef and sheepmeat market access into Canada will be fully liberalised at zero in-quota rates.

Farmers slam ‘calendar farming’ as winter weather puts slurry spreading on hold

 FARMIRELAND.IE – 13 JANUARY 2017

From this week farmers across most of the country are allowed to spread slurry once again. Photo: Roger Jones1

From this week farmers across most of the country are allowed to spread slurry once again. Photo: Roger Jones

The Department of Agriculture is being called on to adopt a more ‘common sense’ approach to slurry spreading dates as the current winter weather puts slurry spreading on hold.

From this week farmers across most of the country are allowed to spread slurry once again.

Farmers in Zone A can commence spreading from tomorrow, with farmers in Zones B and C permitted to commence after 15 January and 31 January respectively (see image below).

However, ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said “calendar farming restrictions for slurry spreading are proving unworkable and unrealistic and most frustrating for farmers”.

Focusing on this week’s inclement weather Sherlock said many parts of the country are experiencing weather conditions which are completely incompatible to slurry spreading.

“It may be weeks before conditions improve by which time many important farming schedules will have been delayed.

“On the contrary, the milder and dryer weather over the last number of weeks would have been ideal, yet our hands were tied.

slurry spreading season 2.PNG

“At all times, farmers are working and planning with a close eye on the weather and ground conditions in order to comply with best farming practice in terms of efficiency, animal welfare and environmental concerns.
“Fixed artificial deadlines at the beginning and end of the slurry spreading season goes against all that, and the legislators must surely recognise the wisdom in being more flexible on this issue,” he said.The restrictions are in place as research has shown that prohibited periods are necessary to prevent nutrient loss to water during the most environmentally risky time of the year.

The laws which were brought in under the Nitrates Directive have been a cause of anger amongst the farming community.

The Status Orange weather warning remains in place this morning in counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo as Met Eireann predict a cold and frosty morning with snow and ice.

Forecasters have also issued a Status Yellow warning for snow and ice for the rest of the country. Both warnings will remain in place until 6pm.

It is set to be a bright day, but the country can expect scattered wintry showers, occurring mostly along western coastal counties, and north-west strong and gusty winds.

Irish farmers put forward radical plan as beef price bites

FARMERS WEEKLY (UK) – 10 JANUARY 2017

Suckler cows in a field© Tim Scrivener

Irish beef farmers have called on the EU to pay farmers to cut suckler cow numbers in order to reduce beef supply.

Farm leaders have been warning for a number of months that low prices are leaving beef producers struggling.

However, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has now suggested farmers should be paid €200 (£173) a suckler cow for up to five years in a bid to reduce output, claiming the only way “to deliver farm viability is scarcity”.

See also: Irish beef imports down 10% since Brexit

ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher said lessons needed to be learned from the strategy applied at an EU level to deal with the dairy crisis.

To tackle that, payments were offered to milk producers to address the supply/demand imbalance.

Returns keep getting worse

Many older suckler farmers were putting their lives and health on the line trying to manage suckler cows and returns from the marketplace were getting worse and worse, said Mr Kelleher.

“ICSA believes farmers are sick and tired of losing money to produce beef when there is so much uncertainty around viable markets,” he said.

“This strategy would expose the hypocrisy of Food Wise 2025 expansion targets [set by the Irish government as part of its vision for agricultural growth] by sending out a clear signal that anything less than €200 a cow net profit is unacceptable.

“It would expose the deadly consensus that farmers should be satisfied with just breaking even.”

Debbie Butcher, senior analyst at AHDB Beef & Lamb, said she understood why Irish farmers felt the need to push for such a scheme.

High production levels

Production levels in Ireland in 2017 were expected to be the highest for 10 years, with an extra 120,000 cattle expected to go to slaughter, she said.

90% of Irish production was exported and the major market was the UK, which had been challenging in recent months because of the movement in the exchange rate.

“The outlook for farmgate prices in Ireland is anything but positive, so I can understand why they would advocate this approach.”

However, Ms Butcher thought it was unlikely there would be much interest in such a scheme across much of the rest of Europe.

While British producers faced similar challenges in terms of profitability, she suspected it would not be a scheme that would interest the UK because there was such a strong emphasis on suckler beef as a product and sucklers also played an important role in the management of the landscape.

The other factor was that across the EU, production was dairy dominated, making problems in the suckler sector less of a concern to many EU countries.

According to the EU Commission, two-thirds of EU beef comes from the dairy herd.

ICSA calls for dairy-style relief for suckler sector

IRISH EXAMINER – 10 JANUARY 2017

Suckler farmers need a €200 per suckler cow incentive to voluntarily reduce numbers in light of oversupply of beef in Europe, says ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher.

He says that 200,000 more cattle will go for slaughter in 2017 than in 2015. He said a voluntary five-year EU-wide scheme is needed to address profitability challenges in the sector.

“We need to learn from the strategy applied at EU level to deal with the dairy crisis in 2016 where the strategy was a rational move to reduce production to deal with the supply/demand imbalance,” said Mr Kelleher.

“With continued uncertainty about live exports particularly to traditionally important markets like Italy, it is abundantly clear that the only way to deliver farm viability is scarcity.

“Farm organisations have to take a responsible attitude on basic economic principles that will address the profitability question above all other considerations,” he said.

Mr Kelleher said the proposed scheme would expose the hypocrisy of Food Wise 2025 expansion targets by sending out a clear signal that anything less than €200 per cow net profit is unacceptable.

He said suckler profitability has been made impossible due to the introduction of penalties on the payment grid for high- quality heavy carcasses, the ongoing 30-month cut off, the “racket” of four residencies and the impact of Brexit on price.

Mr Kelleher said it would also be necessary to deal with the surge of so-called bobby calves from the dairy herd. With the increasing trend towards cross breeding using a combination of Holstein and Jersey genetics there is a glut of male calves totally unsuitable for any sort of viable beef production system.

The options are exporting them for veal, veal systems in Ireland or disposal through the knackery system.

‘Prompt payment for schemes such as GLAS critical for farmers’ – ICSA

AGRILAND – 9 JANUARY 2017

Prompt payment for schemes such as GLAS is critical for farmers operating on tight margins, ICSA Rural Development Chairman, Seamus Sherlock, has said.

“ICSA has received many calls on the issue from farmers who have complied with everything that has been asked of them from the Department but who have been left high and dry waiting for payment.

“Adding to the frustration is the fact that so many farmers are having difficulty getting through to the relevant officials to discuss their cases.

“A lot of people who are under pressure financially need this payment immediately,” he said.

An update from the Department of Agriculture last week said that GLAS 2016 payments representing 85% of the full year payment for 2016 have issued to over 19,225 GLAS 1 participants and over 8,135 GLAS 2 participants.

Further payments will continue on an ongoing basis, it said.

With 38,000 farmers enrolled in the first two tranches of the scheme, this leaves in the region of 10,000 farmers awaiting payment.

Meanwhile, a total of just under 14,000 applications were submitted under the third tranche of the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS 3), according to the Department.

Over 16,000 draft applications for the scheme were made on the Department’s website.

The analysis of the breakdown of these figures is underway with a decision on the number of farmers accepted into the scheme being made when this analysis is complete.

It is anticipated that scheme approval letters will issue to applicants before the end of January 2017. Based on the GLAS 3 plans that were submitted last week, almost 95% were either Tier 1 or 2.

ICSA proposes beef cattle reduction scheme

 THAT’S FARMING – 9 JANUARY 2017


The move comes in light of an oversupply of beef cattle in Europe.

ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher has suggested that we need a €200 per suckler cow incentive to reduce numbers in light of oversupply of beef in Europe and the complete lack of profitability in the suckler sector. “We need to learn from the strategy applied at EU level to deal with the dairy crisis in 2016 where the strategy was a rational move to reduce production to deal with the supply/demand imbalance.”

ICSA proposes that this incentive should be available on an EU wide basis at a rate of €200 per cow per annum for up to five years on a voluntary basis. The scheme would be based on a reference year of 2016 and the payment would be linked to the reduction in calves registered compared to 2016.

“ICSA believes that farmers are sick and tired of losing money to produce beef when there is so much uncertainty around viable markets. This strategy would expose the hypocrisy of Food Wise 2025 expansion targets by sending out a clear signal that anything less than €200 per cow net profit is unacceptable. It would expose the deadly consensus that farmers should be satisfied with just breaking even.

Many older suckler farmers are putting their lives and health on the line trying to manage suckler cows and returns from the marketplace are getting worse and worse.

The introduction of penalties on the payment grid for high quality heavy carcasses, the ongoing 30 month cut off, the racket of four residencies and the impact of Brexit on price are all coming together to completely undermine suckler farming. Factories have refused point blank to engage on these issues and Bord Bia has been unable to find any solutions.

As we face into 2017 we see 200,000 more cattle for slaughter than in 2015 and continued uncertainty about live exports particularly to traditionally important markets like Italy. It is abundantly clear that the only way to deliver farm viability is scarcity. Farm organisations have to take a responsible attitude on basic economic principles that will address the profitability question above all other considerations.”

It will also be necessary to deal with the surge of so-called bobby calves from the dairy herd. With the increasing trend towards cross breeding using a combination of Holstein and Jersey genetics there is a glut of male calves totally unsuitable for any sort of viable beef production system. The options are exporting them for veal, veal systems in Ireland or disposal through the knackery system. “One thing is clear: advocating using them for beef is reckless and irresponsible as systems are unviable and they are just adding to the glut of beef which is further dragging down price.”

ICSA calls for a €200/suckler cow incentive to reduce beef numbers

AGRILAND – 8 JANUARY 2017

Ireland needs a €200 per suckler cow incentive to reduce numbers in light of oversupply of beef in Europe and the complete lack of profitability in the suckler sector, ICSA Suckler Chairman, Dermot Kelleher.

He said that we need to learn from the strategy applied at EU level to deal with the dairy crisis in 2016 where the strategy was a rational move to reduce production to deal with the supply/demand imbalance.

ICSA proposes that this incentive should be available on an EU wide basis at a rate of €200 per cow per annum for up to five years on a voluntary basis.

The scheme would be based on a reference year of 2016 and the payment would be linked to the reduction in calves registered compared to 2016, it said.

ICSA believes that farmers are sick and tired of losing money to produce beef when there is so much uncertainty around viable markets.

“This strategy would expose the hypocrisy of Food Wise 2025 expansion targets by sending out a clear signal that anything less than €200 per cow net profit is unacceptable.

“It would expose the deadly consensus that farmers should be satisfied with just breaking even.

“Many older suckler farmers are putting their lives and health on the line trying to manage suckler cows and returns from the marketplace are getting worse and worse.

“The introduction of penalties on the payment grid for high quality heavy carcasses, the ongoing 30 month cut off, the racket of four residencies and the impact of Brexit on price are all coming together to completely undermine suckler farming.

“Factories have refused point blank to engage on these issues and Bord Bia has been unable to find any solutions.”

As we face into 2017 we see 200,000 more cattle for slaughter than in 2015 and continued uncertainty about live exports particularly to traditionally important markets like Italy.

Kelleher said that it is abundantly clear that the only way to deliver farm viability is scarcity.

Farm organisations have to take a responsible attitude on basic economic principles that will address the profitability question above all other considerations, he said.

The association said that it will also be necessary to deal with the surge of so-called bobby calves from the dairy herd.

With the increasing trend towards cross breeding using a combination of Holstein and Jersey genetics there is a glut of male calves totally unsuitable for any sort of viable beef production system, according to ICSA.

The current options are exporting them for veal, veal systems in Ireland or disposal through the knackery system.

“One thing is clear: advocating using them for beef is reckless and irresponsible as systems are unviable and they are just adding to the glut of beef which is further dragging down price.”

Beef exports to Egypt set to resume

FARMIRELAND.IE – 6 JANUARY 2017

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed an agreement provides for the approval of five Irish plants to begin exports to Egypt once the necessary technical arrangements are in place. Stock Image: PA1
The Department of Agriculture has confirmed an agreement provides for the approval of five Irish plants to begin exports to Egypt once the necessary technical arrangements are in place. Stock Image: PA
Farming groups have welcomed the re-opening of the Egyptian market to Irish beef exports for the first time since the 1990s.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed an agreement provides for the approval of five Irish plants to begin exports to Egypt once the necessary technical arrangements are in place.

Prior to their ban on EU beef in the late 1990s, it was one of the largest markets for Irish beef – and in total the country has around 95 million consumers.

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan said: “This news is indeed welcome and timely as we need all the markets we can get to facilitate increasing cattle numbers. However, farmers will be keen to see if this move will strengthen beef prices.”

‘European beef farmers should be paid to not produce beef for 5 years’ – ICSA

FARMIRELAND.IE – 6 JANUARY 2017

ICSA proposes that this incentive should be available on an EU-wide basis at a rate of €200 per cow per annum for up to five years on a voluntary basis.1
ICSA proposes that this incentive should be available on an EU-wide basis at a rate of €200 per cow per annum for up to five years on a voluntary basis.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) has said that beef farmers should be paid to reduce output due to high supplies and poor farmgate prices currently.

Its suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher has suggested that a €200 per breeding cow incentive is needed to reduce numbers in light of oversupply of beef in Europe and the complete lack of profitability in the sector.

“We need to learn from the strategy applied at EU level to deal with the dairy crisis in 2016 where the strategy was a rational move to reduce production to deal with the supply/demand imbalance.”

ICSA proposes that this incentive should be available on an EU-wide basis at a rate of €200 per cow per annum for up to five years on a voluntary basis.

The scheme would be based on a reference year of 2016 and the payment would be linked to the reduction in calves registered compared to 2016.

‘Farmers sick and tired of losing money’

“ICSA believes that farmers are sick and tired of losing money to produce beef when there is so much uncertainty around viable markets.

“This strategy would expose the hypocrisy of Food Wise 2025 expansion targets by sending out a clear signal that anything less than €200 per cow net profit is unacceptable. It would expose the deadly consensus that farmers should be satisfied with just breaking even.

“Many older suckler farmers are putting their lives and health on the line trying to manage suckler cows and returns from the marketplace are getting worse and worse.The ICSA also says the introduction of penalties on the payment grid for high quality heavy carcasses, the ongoing 30 month cut off, the racket of four residencies and the impact of Brexit on price are all coming together to completely undermine suckler farming.It says beef factories have refused point blank to engage on these issues and Bord Bia has been unable to find any solutions.

“As we face into 2017 we see 200,000 more cattle for slaughter than in 2015 and continued uncertainty about live exports particularly to traditionally important markets like Italy.

“It is abundantly clear that the only way to deliver farm viability is scarcity.

“Farm organisations have to take a responsible attitude on basic economic principles that will address the profitability question above all other considerations,” Kelleher said.