7 NOVEMBER 2016
STRAW SCARCITY IMPACTING LIVESTOCK SECTORS -WE NEED A BALANCED PLAN TO MAKE LIVESTOCK AND TILLAGE VIABLE
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said that there is a real problem with the lack of affordable quality straw, particularly in the west of Ireland this year. “Bad weather at harvest time has caused a huge problem with straw. Quality straw is essential for suckler and sheep farmers particularly at calving and lambing time.
Some farmers depend on straw for housing animals and are now frantically looking for alternatives but this brings its own problems. Renting B&B slatted accommodation is one option but this adds an extra residency which can cause the loss of the quality assurance bonus. Organic farmers have a particular problem because they have a requirement to provide bedded areas for all stock.”
“ICSA argued successfully against the introduction of more taxes on diesel in the budget which is impacting on the cost of transporting straw from east to west. However, more is required. We need national recognition that the future of agriculture in Ireland needs a balance between the sectors. Putting all our eggs in the dairying basket has proven short-sighted and we need the government to show the same urgency around the difficulties in the cereals sector as was shown to the dairying sector. In short, we need to reconsider Foodwise 2025 because we need a balanced plan to make both livestock and tillage viable, rather than just a focus on telling farmers to produce more for less.”
“ICSA is concerned that there will be further declines in the area sown to cereals in 2017 and that this will have a knock-on impact on future availability of straw. We need urgent action on the tillage crisis now.”