Here’s a quick roundup of the main news items from the Agriland newsdesk, the week President Michael D Higgins’ official state visit to the UK saw him take in a trip to a farm outside London.

  1. It’s not the story residents of Offaly and Carlow want to hear, but the latest research by Teagasc shows the two midland counties have the highest concentration of weakest towns in the country. And it seems women and young people are the first to leave such towns in search of employment.
  2. Dairy expansion is on the mind of everyone. Our dairy expert Tom O’Callaghan looks at the Irish dairy industry and questions whether we are ready for dairy expansion. We also look at New Zealand, where experts suggest its dairy industry has missed a golden opportunity to further expand? Dairy farmers closer to home who think they’re doing things well, should get their co-op to nominate them for the NDC’s milk quality awards.
  3. The beef sector was shaken this week by the meat factories outlining what kind of beef carcasses it would like to see more of. The move has been heavily criticised and the Minster for Agriculture has said he will hold talks with stakeholders in the sector as the factories deny they are subverting the meat trade. Abroad, it seems the meat industry is positive about the outlook for meat.
  4. Teagasc Kildalton held a very informative suckler beef open day and said 24-month calving is key.
  5. Tractor sales are always a good indicator of the mood of farmers and this March it seems they were in good form, with sales of tractors up significantly on March 2013.