Both the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) have indicated that the €8 million support fund made available for the tillage sector in Budget 2024, is a ‘drop in the ocean’, relative to the industry’s needs at the present time.

IFA Grain Committee chair, Kieran McEvoy told Agriland: “We hope to meet Minister McConalogue over the days.

“If this doesn’t materialise then the opportunity to brief Department of Agriculture [Food and the Marine] officials will present itself at next Monday’s meeting of the Food Vision Tillage Group.

“We need a bespoke support measure for those growers coping with total crop losses. In my own case, I had to walk way form a 9ac crop of spring oats.”

According to McEvoy, growers should go out now and take photos of impacted crops.

“Teagasc advisors have also a key role to play in this regard,” he added.

IGGG on Budget 2024 tillage funding

Meanwhile, IGGG chairman, Bobby Miller, believes the government’s commitment to tillage in Budget 2024 fails to recognise the needs of Irish tillage farmers at the present time.

“The figures confirm that it cost €550/ac to grow a crop of spring barley in 2023. And this is on farmers’ own land,” Miller said.

“These figures put into context the scale of the losses being incurred by tillage farmers right now.

“The government must act to put in place a realistic support measure for all tillage farmers. In addition, there must be an additional fund for growers facing total crop losses.”

Miller believes the government had the scope to triple the size of the €7 million special aid package for agriculture, drawn down recently from Brussels, with national funding.

“This would have increased the size of the fund available to €21 million, all of which could have been available to tillage farmers,” Miller continued.

“Another option open to the minister in the budget would have been an increase in the scope of the Straw Incorporation Measure.

“Making more money available to boost the construction of more slurry capacity will do nothing to support tillage farm incomes in the short-term,” he said.

The IGGG said that it will be spending the next few days finding out the true scope of what is in Budget 2024 for tillage farmers.

Meanwhile, Boortmalt representatives recently met with the IFA to discuss the outcome of the 2023 harvest and to look forward to 2024.

The get-together took place on the farm of Kieran McEvoy.

He said: “The discussions were wide ranging in nature. Where 2024 is concerned we proposed that Boortmalt should commit to a strong forward price now.

“This is one way of encouraging farmers to commit to malting barley next season. Boortmalt is to come back to use on the all the matters raised at the meeting.”