IGGG calls on support for Irish grain in ‘brutal’ harvest

The Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) has said that there “is a growing sense of frustration and despair” among tillage farmers as poor weather continues to delay the harvest.

In a statement to AgriLand, the group said: “This bruising year and brutal harvest weather for tillage farmers must ignite a change of attitude to Irish grain.”

The group called on the industry to act positively and guarantee increased grain prices.

It suggested that “world grain prices could harden and it’s in growers’ best interests to shop around at present to see what’s on offer”.

“It’s in co-ops’, merchants’ and mills’ own best interest to financially better reward Irish growers now and into the future.

“The Irish agricultural industry and indeed the Irish government will increasingly be scrutinised by customers on traceability and carbon output on products like dairy, beef, chicken, pork, whiskey, beer and bread – all of which use imported grains as part of the production chain, adding negatively to their carbon output.

“The days of comparing the purchase price of Irish grain to GM [genetically modified] grains from Canada, Brazil, Argentina and America are numbered when it comes to grain trading we believe.

Added financial value will be and must be put on locally sourced traceable grain, not just for the tillage farmers’ sake but for the sake of all Irish brands.

The group said that Irish tillage farmers should “no longer accept the language from their buyers that they must compete at world market prices”.

The IGGG stated that Irish grain has lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that many imported grains and that consumers are becoming more aware of this, adding that fully-traceable grain from local farms will be in most demand in the future as consumers demand less food miles.

As well as the lower GHG emissions and traceability of Irish grain, the group stated that the tillage industry boosts the economy.

The sale of inputs to grow these Irish crops boosts the bottom line of the same merchants and co-ops who currently keep quoting world market prices, yet never get to sell inputs to grow these imported grains.

Crop insurance

The group added that crop insurance is something that needs to be considered here in Ireland.

“With the general acceptance of global warming and its consequences, we must visit the possibility of an insurance scheme for tillage farmers’ crops; perhaps partially funded by the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] budget.

The high costs and often poor returns are coming into focus far too often for tillage farmers nowadays. We need more security for our sector for everyone’s sake.

“We call on the government, if necessary, to act swiftly post harvest to take the necessary steps for those farmers who may financially suffer greatly at the hands of the weather this year,” the statement concluded.