‘Raft of measures needed’ for tillage sector – ICSA

There have been calls for a series of financial support measures to be rolled out for the tillage sector, due to a “disastrous succession of weather events”.

Gavin Carberry, the tillage chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), said that tillage farmers are in “dire straits”, and he called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to introduce measures to financially support tillage farmers.

Carberry said that this can be done “through a wide variety of methods”, but that it “must include a targeted aid package”.

The exceptionally wet autumn in 2019 led to a reduced winter cropping area. This was followed by an early summertime drought, two summer storms, and with the ongoing inclement weather things have reached a tipping point for tillage farmers.

“A rescue package for the sector is now an urgent requirement,” Carberry argued.

As well as that, the ICSA is also calling for a financial bonus for the use of native grain in meal rations.

According to the ICSA tillage chairperson, issues in the sector are “being compounded by the importation of foreign grain which continues to undermine the price for local growers at this critical time”.

Carberry also called on Minister McConalogue to waive the requirement under the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) to sow catch crops by September 15 this year, due to some crops remaining uncut.

“In many places there are also vast quantities of straw still on the ground, yet to be baled and deteriorating rapidly. A crop insurance scheme must too be given serious consideration,” he continued.

“Tillage farmers are finding themselves in the same predicament as those in other sectors. As primary producers we produce a world-class product with full traceability but are not provided with the financial support or rewards we need to stay going,” Carberry argued.

He concluded: “The ICSA is calling on Minister McConalogue to pull out all the stops and ensure Irish tillage farmers get a fair hearing and the help they need.”