Income crisis in the tillage sector the focus of the Teagasc National Crops Forum

Addressing the area of debt repayments and the income crisis on Irish tillage farms will be the focus of this year’s Teagasc National Crops Forum.

This year the forum will take place in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare on Wednesday, September 7, from 2pm to 5.30pm.

The critical aspects of the financial crisis which is currently being experienced by tillage farmers in Ireland will be discussed.

Income on cereal farms is predicted to reduce substantially in 2016 compared to last year due to lower yields and low prices.

Teagasc has said that the combination of these factors will hit farmers’ cash flow and their ability to meet commitments this autumn and into 2017.

Michael Hennessy, Head of Knowledge Transfer for Crops in Teagasc said that tillage farmers are hard hit this year with the delayed harvest, poor yields and low prices.

All tillage farmers have hard decisions to make in terms of income generation and debt repayment over the coming months, with both elements squeezing cash flow.

“The focus of the Teagasc National Crops Forum is to give direction to farmers during this difficult period. The forum will address the areas of debt repayments and information in assessing critical investments where needed,” he said.

At this year’s forum, Dr Fiona Thorne, Teagasc Economist, will present a paper on the current income on tillage farms from data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey and a detailed estimation of what to expect in the coming years.

“Armed with the knowledge of the source and scale of future income, this is the best starting place for making future decisions,” she said.

Meanwhile, James McDonnell, Teagasc Financial Management Specialist will continue the theme of examining farm finances and the implications of reduced income.

Farmers will find meeting repayment deadlines, or making any additional investments, extremely difficult this year.

“Planning now is critical to ensure cash flow is adequate for the rest of the season. Teagasc advisors are well placed to help farmers in the coming months.

Looking forward to the next cropping year, Seamus Kearney, Crop Variety Evaluation, Department of Agriculture, will update the forum on the latest variety trials which will help growers to pick the variety best suited to their farm.

Shay Phelan, Teagasc Tillage Specialist, will outline the best steps for growers to deal with the agronomic challenges this autumn including seed rates, weed control, and so forth.

The forum will finish with a panel discussion on the financial pressures facing the tillage industry. Speakers will be joined by experts in the accountancy and banking industry to give their prospective on the industry and answer questions from the floor.

This is the first Department of Agriculture approved Knowledge Transfer Tillage National Event for farmers involved in discussion groups to attend.

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