IFA calls for action on Fodder Action Plan and on Farm Inspection Flexibilty

IFA
IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has called on Teagasc to immediately put in place an action plan to deal with the fall-out from the current fodder crisis and to ensure that the proper technical advice is given to farmers to ensure that the maximum forage can be achieved over the growing season in advance of next winter.

IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has called on Teagasc to immediately put in place an action plan to deal with the fall-out from the current fodder crisis and to ensure that the proper technical advice is given to farmers to ensure that the maximum forage can be achieved over the growing season in advance of next winter.

Speaking following a meeting of the Teagasc Board in Oakpark, Eddie Downey said that farmers now require the best advice for optimal use of fertilizers and slurry to ensure that grass production is maximised over the coming peak growing months.

In addition, he said, farmers need advice on how best to reinstate damaged pasture swards and use whole crop silage and root crops to increase reserves.

Eddie Downey has called for flexibility on the calculations used to determine the amount of fertilizers that farmers can spread under the nitrates regulations.

In addition Teagasc must provide free advice on fertilizer plans to ensure the maximum amount of forage can be conserved.

Mr Downey also insisted at the board meeting today that Teagasc use publications such as the Farmers Journal to disseminate the proper advice that will ensure that farmers have sufficient fodder coming into the next winter as it is clear that resources have been totally depleted following the current crisis.

The IFA are also calling on Minister Coveney to honour his commitment and show flexibilty in the area of farm inspections.

IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately honour his commitment and send an instruction to all Department of Agriculture inspectors to show compassion and flexibility on inspections, in line with the public commitment the Minister made last week.

On a national radio show last week, in response to a question on inspections, Minister Coveney stated very clearly that ‘a clear instruction had been given to all farm inspectors to essentially back off for the next couple of weeks’ in the context of the severe fodder and weather crisis.

However, Mr DOwney said that despite what the Minister said publicly, it appears he has issued no instruction to any inspectors on the ground in this regard and he has called for clarity on the issue.

The IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Minister to also show flexibility on the stocking rate criteria for Disadvantage Areas payments in 2013.

Due to the fodder and income crisis, some farmers will have real difficultly in purchasing some stock this year and flexibility is required.

Meanwhile, the IFA have addressed the upcoming Nitrates Review, saying it is an opportunity for the expansion of the agri-food sector.

IFA Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Environment Minister Phil Hogan, to use the current review of the nitrates regulations as an opportunity to support the sustainable growth of the sector, and restore farmers’ flexibility to farm based on soil and weather conditions, rather than calendar dates.

Harold Kingston said, “The deplorable weather conditions endured by farmers throughout the year are proof positive that farming by date does not work. Ministers Hogan and Coveney put in place a pragmatic solution this year to assist farmers where difficulties arose on farms. This same logic must now be applied to the current review.”

IFA is seeking a number of specific changes in the regulations including:

• Bringing the interpretation of soiled water in line with other EU member states.

• Amendment of the current phosphorous allowances for grassland to address the alarming reduction in soil phosphorous levels and associated crop nutrient issues.

• Allow the incorporation of phosphorous during sowing of winter crops, to support proper establishment and root development.

• Removal of the green cover requirement in tillage.

• Support the best use of nutrients from the pig and poultry sectors, by addressing the unachievable restrictions imposed on poultry farmers.