Farmers welcome fertiliser delay but want fodder help
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