Farm­ers wel­come fer­tiliser de­lay but want fod­der help

Irish Independent - - News - Eoghan McCon­nell

FARM­ERS have wel­comed an ex­ten­sion of the fer­tilis­er­spread­ing dead­line but warn more needs to be done to ad­dress fod­der shortages.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed an­nounced the mea­sure as he opened the Tul­lam­ore Show in Co Of­faly.

Mr Creed said the dead­line for the ap­pli­ca­tion of chem­i­cal fer­tiliser would be ex­tended from mid-Septem­ber to the end of the month.

The dead­line for the ap­pli­ca­tion of or­ganic ma­nures will be ex­tended from mid-Oc­to­ber to the end of Oc­to­ber.

“That gives us an op­por­tu­nity to max­imise the grow­ing sea­son and also the fod­der,” he told the crowd.

Mr Creed (in­set) en­cour­aged farm­ers to take up the tillage ini­tia­tive.

In April this year, he an­nounced the al­lo­ca­tion of €1.5m for the in­tro­duc­tion of a fod­der im­port sup­port mea­sure in re­sponse to the bad win­ter.

How­ever he added: “It would be wrong to be­lieve that the im­por­ta­tion of fod­der will re­solve this is­sue on its own. It will play a part but the big­gest and the most ef­fec­tive will be max­imis­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are there be­tween now and the end of the grow­ing sea­son for fod­der con­ser­va­tion. De­tails of that will be an­nounced in due course.”

Mr Creed ac­knowl­edged the “very dif­fi­cult chal­lenge” faced by farm­ing fam­i­lies as a re­sult of this year’s weather con­di­tions.

An IFA spokesper­son wel­comed the move to ex­tend the fer­tiliser-spread­ing dead­line. How­ever, he said, it was only one of the mea­sures sought by farm­ers.

“We want to see an im­port fod­der scheme,” the spokesman com­mented. “If we don’t move on this we won’t have plans in place for next win­ter.” He pointed out that a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion was de­vel­op­ing across Europe and act­ing now may help with af­ford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity.

Aside from an im­port scheme, the IFA spokesman said the de­part­ment also needed to move now to re­solve is­sues with GLAS in order to en­able farm­ers to plant catch crops.

Mr Creed said: “I am con­vinced that though it is ex­tremely chal­leng­ing, fi­nan­cially chal­leng­ing, phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing and emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing, that we will come through this chal­lenge to­gether .”

The fod­der pro­duc­tion in­cen­tive mea­sure for tillage farm­ers and GLAS flex­i­bil­i­ties would con­trib­ute pos­i­tively in this re­gard, he said.

Yvonne Har­ring­ton, frmo Bor­risoleigh, Co Tip­per­ary, with her mi­na­ture pony Demi. Photo: Colin O’Rior­dan

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