Woods calls for ‘all schemes’ to take account of weather

One of the candidates in this month’s forthcoming presidential election for the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to take account of the “exceptional weather conditions” in the various schemes it runs.

Angus Woods, the association’s current national livestock chairperson, said that the wet conditions were “creating havoc” in the tillage sector and was “compounding the crisis” in the livestock sector.

He said that tillage farmers were “struggling to get potato and other vegetable crops out of the ground”. He added that grain farmers planning to sow winter crops “need to ensure ground cover over the winter months”.

The poor weather conditions are also negatively compounding market conditions in the livestock trade. Farmers need fair prices and an orderly trade to allow them to sell and move cattle as they become fit.

“The potato crop should be fully harvested by now, but many tillage farmers have a significant amount of their potato crop in the ground, with some farmers having up to 30% of their crop still to be harvested. These crops will rot in the field unless farmers can get them out of the ground urgently,” the IFA presidential candidate added.

Woods argued that, due to the high input costs for potato and vegetable crops, farmers involved in these sectors “need to get their crops harvested urgently to make any return”.

He also highlighted that water-logged fields were preventing grain farmers from getting in to sow winter crops.

The Department of Agriculture and other regulators must take account of the conditions farmers are working under and ensure flexibility in interpreting compliance with environmental conditions.

Woods concluded his remarks by calling on Minister Michael Creed to confirm that all department-run schemes would take account of the conditions over the last month, particularly where the weather is impacting farmers’ ability to sow crops.