Viability of tillage farming in the west features on Ear to the Ground

The 24th series of Ear to the Ground will return to television screens tonight, October 27, and will feature rural resettlement, tillage and pumpkins.

Starting on RTE One at 8.30pm the first episode sees Helen Carroll visit Co. Clare where she meets two Dublin families who have moved to the west of Ireland in the hope of a new start.

Helen speaks to Susan Morgan in Labasheeda, Co. Clare who, two years ago, moved out of Dublin; a move that was facilitated by Jim Connolly and his charity Rural Resettlement Ireland.

Meanwhile, Darragh McCullough travels west of the Shannon to witness first hand the plight of the tillage farmers as harvest 2016 proves to be very difficult.

As it stands now, the Irish Farming Association estimates losses of €50m have been suffered by its members.

Darragh speaks to Maurice Gannon from Co. Roscommon who is in danger of losing 200ac of his 350ac crop and estimates he has already lost €100,000 on his current crop.

Ear to the Ground asks Maurice and some experts whether or not farming these crops in the west of Ireland is viable in the future.

In the spirit of Halloween, Ella McSweeney visits the famous Hill of Ward in Co. Meath, the site of the first ever bonfire, where the origins of Halloween began.

Ella picks and carves her own pumpkins on a farm that grows 13,000 pumpkins a year, while also visiting an archaeological dig.

Ear to the Ground finds out how a young farmer, Thomas Dillon, has developed his farm since he asked his father Ben for two acres of land to grow pumpkins for Halloween three years ago.

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