Letter to the editor: In a pandemic is sowing cover crops ‘essential’…or is it ‘for the birds’?

Within a relatively short period of time, farmers such as myself will have to sow wild bird cover for GLAS [Green, Low-carbon, Agri-environment Scheme].

This would be my final year of sowing, as I’ll be five years in the scheme at that point.

‘Is this advisable?’

However, in light of everything that is happening with coronavrius [Covid-19], is such a task wise? Is it advisable, given what’s happening around us?

A lot of farmers are part of the older generation. Undertaking jobs like feeding stock, spreading fertiliser and so on – as well as travelling to and from the co-op – are necessary.

But what about sowing wild bird cover…and getting the supplies required to do that? When you think about the age and risk profile of some farmers, is this necessary…or is it simply ‘for the birds’?

From Adrian Ryan, Co. Galway

Latest coronavirus (Covid-19) news

For the latest farming news and updates accruing from the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, check out on special ‘updates [ongoing]’ story.

Also Read: Latest coronavirus updates for farmers…as they happen (ongoing)

By Tuesday, March 31, the Department of Health reported that 325 new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of cases to 3,235.

Meanwhile, the Government continues to promote social (physical) distancing guidelines. It is, therefore, timely that Teagasc has published a map of the country that highlights the level of isolation in rural areas, particularly in the west.

Teagasc used the Government’s specified distance (2km) to determine how many houses are in the vicinity of each home in its Geographic Information System (GIS).

Not surprisingly, the most isolated areas are to be to be found in Co. Donegal; west and north Connacht; south Co. Kerry; and north Co. Clare; with a few smaller patches dotted around the midlands and south Munster.