ICSA Tillage chair Gavin Carberry has called for a rescue package for the tillage sector that matches the scale of the disaster faced by farmers. “The announcement of a payment of €11/acre was not a serious response in a year where crops were left in the ground and are still there. Many other farmers managed to get crops out but with serious hardship and impact on the quality of grain and straw.”
“I am very concerned at the impact on farmers who are looking at their whole year’s work gone for nothing. A rescue package needs to respect the scale of the disaster and that’s why ICSA is proposing a set of payments worth up to €250/ha, to a maximum €10,000 per farmer. This is a balanced proposal that mirrors the level of previous packages paid to other sectors and will not be unreasonable to the public purse.”
ICSA is proposing that the farmers who haven’t been able to harvest their crops should be paid €250/ha up to a maximum of 40 ha to leave unharvested crops as wild bird cover until the middle of March. ICSA is proposing that farmers who struggled to harvest spring crops should be paid €200/ha up to a maximum of 50 ha, and winter cereal growers should be eligible for €150/ha, again to a maximum of 50 ha. All farmers struggled in 2023 with harvesting; poor conditions have increased diesel and contracting costs, and the quality is well down.
“The impact is also being felt in terms of the serious lack of quality straw which is going to have deep ramifications for animal welfare at calving time. It is also hugely problematic in terms of our strategy to grow the organic sector given the need for farmyard manure rather than slurry.
The government has a stated strategy of increasing our tillage area for climate reasons and to reduce dependence on imported produce. If the government is serious about this, then they must match this ambition with action not just empty words.”