ACA publishes recommendations to ease stocking-rate pressure

The vice president of the Agricultural Consultants’ Association (ACA), Tom Canning, has given a list of recommendations to ease stocking-rate pressure for derogation farmers.

The list comes following last month’s publication of the nitrates review from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Commenting on the list, Canning said: “The most important thing a derogation farmer can do now is to have a preliminary discussion with their farm consultant or advisor.”

The ACA is recommending a number of measures to ease stocking-rate pressures, including:
  • Contract rearing of replacement stock for dairy farms;
  • Contract growing of forage;
  • Securing additional lands through long-term lease arrangements or reviewing existing rental/leasing agreements to extent the agreed periods;
  • Identifying ways of reducing livestock including moving drystock earlier off the farm;
  • Operating a “flying herd” where all replacement stock are purchased in rather than reared on the farm.

The ACA welcomed measures in the report which are designed to improve fertiliser use efficiencies on intensive farms and provide additional protection of the environment.

Canning noted: “Measures such as slurry spreading using low emission slurry systems are proven to reduce ammonia emissions and improve responses from slurry applied.”

Concluding, the vice president of the ACA said: “It is advisable to have that meeting with your consultant/advisor now rather than next year when land and stock issues might not be as easy to rectify.”