ICSA reiterates difficulties of ‘calendar farming’ in Nitrates Action Programme submission

13th June, 2013

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has reiterated the urgent need to review the issue of ‘calendar farming’ in its submission on Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme. Submissions on the issue were sought by the Departments of Agriculture and the Environment as part of the second review of the Action Programme.

ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin explains that the Association used the opportunity to once again highlight the futility of setting strict dates and deadlines for crucial farming practices in Ireland. “Given the extremely difficult conditions experienced by Irish farmers over the past 18 months, it is now beyond doubt that the notion that farming activity can be restricted by dates on a calendar, rather than by the prevailing weather and ground conditions, must be recognised as nonsense.”

Examples of this are highlighted by Teagasc studies and noted by ICSA in the submission, available here. The submission also contains a number of recommendations from ICSA as to how the system can be improved, while remaining in compliance with the Nitrates Directive.

Mr Gilmartin concluded, “ICSA has been increasingly vocal about the very real difficulties caused by calendar farming. It is problematic from a farming point of view and, importantly, from an environmental point of view as well. It is very clear that farming decisions must be guided by weather and ground conditions, not dates on a calendar.”