Dairygold announces minimum contract prices for beans

This week Dairygold Co-op has put forward a minimum green contract price for beans at €175/t for the 2018 harvest.

Lauded by farmers, the announcement has been described as a welcome development for growers.

Speakers L-R: Seamus O’Mahony, head of sales and marketing, Dairygold; Dr. Louise McNamara, Teagasc Oak Park; Ciaran Collins, Teagasc Moorepark; Tim O’Donovan, Seedtech; and Niall Griffey, Dairygold. Image source: O’Gorman Photography

Tim Donovan – technical manager at Seedtech – spoke at the event, emphasising the advantages of beans.

The advantages listed include:
  • Increased profitability – as a stand-alone crop and with yields averaging 6.4t/ha over the last three years, beans provide almost double the margin from spring cereal crops at €414/ha;
  • Providing a good break crop in rotations – improving the yield and overall profitability of succeeding cereal crops;
  • Reducing input costs – the ability of beans to fix nitrogen decreases the nitrogen requirement in the next crops;
  • No additional equipment is needed on farms;
  • Beans fulfil the three crop rule requirements.

A Dairygold spokesperson, at the company’s tillage conference in the Corrin Event Centre, Fermoy, commented that Dairygold is fully committed to maximising the use of native Irish cereals – including beans – across its range of feedstuffs.

The provision of knowledge-sharing initiatives – in conjunction with Teagasc – along with the best advice and value inputs are also hallmarks of the co-operative actions on the ground, Dairygold has claimed.

dairygold beans
L-R: George Mason, Ardfinnan; Jim Gibbons, president of the ISTA; Michael Ryan, Cashel; Paddy Harrington, Minanebridge; and Liam Leahy, Dairygold. Image source: O’Gorman Photography

The continued growth of beans from 3,000ha to 11,000ha in recent years, according to Teagasc, has the potential to displace 1.2 million tonnes of imported protein feed.

This should improve overall arable farm income and create a more sustainable arable landscape.

Farmer reaction

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) National Grain Committee chairman Mark Browne has called on merchants and co-ops to follow the Dairygold lead and declare a price for this season’s bean crop in advance of the planting season.

Browne said: “The Dairygold price of €175/t is €15/t over last year’s harvest non-contract bean price. The increased price offer is a welcome development.

This announcement will enable growers to make a commercial decision whether to grow the crop or not.

“Other merchants should follow the Dairygold lead,” the chairman said.

It is crucial that growers are offered prices in advance of sowing, given the tight margins that farmers are working off, Browne said.

Sowing in the absence of a firm price offer is akin to gambling and no way to run a business, he added.

The chairman said merchants and co-ops should step up to the mark and offer growers credible prices for the 2018 crop ahead of the sowing season.