Maize growers facing 20pc loss on yields in wake of Storm Ali
FARMERS are facing a 20pc yield loss in maize and severely disrupted harvesting conditions after Storm Ali battered the crop across the northern half of the country, writes Declan O’Brien.
Maize crops in the northeast were worst hit, with over 60pc of crops lodged or badly tossed in counties Meath and Louth.
Brendan Lynch from Ardee said 130ac of his 200ac of maize had been flattened by the storm.
The crop was ready to cut and the plan was to begin harvesting yesterday, Mr Lynch told the Farming Independent.
“The crop was around 9ft high but the stalks were broken 18in from the ground and the crop laid over,” he said.
The Lynches, who grow maize for anaerobic digestion as well as for local farmers, estimate that yield losses due to the storm damage will be around 20pc.
Since the contractors will now be restricted in the manner in which they harvest the maize — they will essentially have to cut against the PAYMENTS levels under the reviewed ANC scheme must reflect the underlying quality of the land and the degree of constraint involved in farming the ground, the INHFA has insisted.
INHFA president Colm O’Donnell maintained that ANC designations had to be based on science and that the methodology underpinning the decision-making process had to be open and transparent.
The Department of Agriculture has indicated that a full review of the ANC scheme and a remapping of the ANC areas has been completed and its finding will inform payment levels for the 2019 scheme.
“The INHFA are engaging with the Department to crop in the laid-over sections — progress is likely to be restricted to 25-30ac per day when they normally would expect to cut 60-70ac.
John Foley of Maizetech said the quality of the crops this year had accentuated last week’s storm damage.
“There are some outstanding crops of maize this year,” Mr Foley maintained.
He said damage to the crops was concentrated north of a line from Limerick to Dublin, with the worst affected areas in Meath and Louth.
Mr Foley pointed out that maize crops across the southeast were similarly hit by storm damage last year. While the vast majority of the yield was saved, the harvest was much slower.
It is estimated that over 18,000ha of maize were sown this year. Ciaran Collins of Teagasc said crops are generally good with well filled cobs.
Harvesting just started in earnest this week and yields are expected to be on par with previous years. access as part of the review the methodology currently in place for setting payment rates/ bands within the updated ANC scheme,” Mr O’Donnell said.
The INHFA leader said the methodology employed must “reflect more fairly how farmers are compensated for the level of constraint experienced in their farming systems.”
Last week Minister Creed confirmed that payments of €185.6m had commenced to 77,000 farmers under the ANC scheme and to island-based livestock owners.
“These payments represent a timely and significant financial boost for farmers and for the wider rural economy. My Department will continue to process, as a matter of urgency, all remaining cases for payment as they meet scheme criteria,” Minister Creed said.
The provision of an additional €25m for the ANC scheme this year resulted in increases of up to €600 in farmer payments and brought the total figure to €4,000 for many stock owners.
The ANC scheme has a budget of €228m and is paid in two tranches, with the balancing payment coming later in the year. It is designed to support those farming lands with a bio-physical constraint such as limited soil drainage, hill and mountain ground or rocky land.
Mr O’Donnell said the targeting of €22m of the additional ANC scheme funds at livestock owners working severely disadvantaged ground was “a clear acknowledgment that this scheme is designed to compensate farmers on naturally constrained land.”
Brendan Lynch surveys the damage to the maize crop on his farm at Reaghstown near Ardee, Co Louth