€14m allocated to new research projects
A total of 23 research projects, including ones based on livestock sustainability, welfare and biosecuirty in farmed animals and sustainable pesticide use have received funding from the Department.

Over €14m has been allocated to 23 research projects by the Department of Agriculture.

Announcing the awards at a briefing in Dublin today, Minister Michael Creed said: “The projects being funded by my Department will make a significant contribution to the future sustainability, innovation and competitiveness of the Irish agri food sector”.

The investment across the 23 projects will create 71 contract research positions. Furthermore, education opportunities will be provided for 57 post graduate students in the form of PhDs (47) and Masters degrees (10).

Agri-focused projects

The funds are allocated under three separate programmes, with one branch focusing on food research, another on agriculture and one on forestry.

Under the agriculture branch six projects received funding:

  • Future proofing Irish livestock sustainability (UCD): €1,243,000
  • Cadium: reduce, evaluate, detect, inform with technologies (Teagasc) €1,165,000
  • Protecting terrestrial ecosystems through sustainable pesticide use (NUIG): €1,085,000
  • Surveillance welfare and biosecurity of farmed animals (Teagasc): €772,000
  • Evaluating land use and land management impacts on soil organic carbon in Irish agricultural systems (Teagasc): €598,000
  • Behaviours for safer farming (Teagasc): €595,000
  • Co-funding

    Part of the funding for the Future proofing Irish livestock sustainability project came from the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland. Minister Creed welcomed this “as an excellent example of the successful collaborative approach of the administrations, north and south, working together in an important policy area which is of mutual benefit”.

    In addition, Evaluating land use and land management impacts on soil organic carbon in Irish agricultural systems is being co-funded by the EPA.

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    Tractor run and BBQ raises €12,000 for charity
    The FCI has raised a substantial sum of money for six charities from their annual tractor run and BBQ.

    Up to €12,000 was raised by the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI) through its annual charity BBQ and auction held on 15 July in Co Meath.

    Contractor brothers Patrick, Peter and Michael Farrelly hosted the event, which also included the Mickey Farrelly Tractor Run in memory of their late father.

    To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000

    The event saw a strong attendance and was supported by a large number of food suppliers.

    “We are indebted to all of the generous food suppliers who supported us in staging the 2018 FCI charity BBQ. We also thank the contributions from the huge attendance, which have provided us with the opportunity to support so many worthwhile charities," said FCI general secretary Peter Farrelly.

    “To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000 for many local and national charities,” he said.

    The six charities that received money included:

  • Meath Palliative Care (€3,500)
  • Save our Sons & Daughters (SOSAD) (€2,000)
  • Support Organisation for Trisomy (SOFT) (€2,000)
  • Order of Malta, Kells (€1,000)
  • Order of Malta, Swords (€1,500)
  • Carnaross Community First Responders (€2,000)
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    TB compensation – concern over ‘subtle pressure’ on valuers
    The ICSA has stated that higher rates should be paid for higher-calibre cattle.

    Valuers who determine TB compensation rates should be given free rein to do their jobs without interruption from the Department of Agriculture, according to the ICSA.

    “When it comes to breeding stock, or animals with show potential, there has to be flexibility in the system to allow valuers to give an honest and true assessment of what an animal is worth.

    "In these cases, average price ranges from thousands of animals sold in marts each week is meaningless,” ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell said.

    Too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers

    Currently, a ceiling of €3,000 is applied for payments in respect of any individual bovine reactor animals.

    Exceptions are made for a €4,000 payment for one stock bull per breakdown or €5,000 for one pedigree stock bull.

    “[The] ICSA is concerned that too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers to avoid giving the real value of a high-calibre cow or heifer.

    While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department

    “As it stands, the odds are stacked against a farmer who has TB reactors. While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department.

    “Unless there is a strong body of evidence that a valuer is continuously getting it wrong, the Department should accept that, at times, there will be stock that are much more valuable than any paper exercise in average values.”

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    New beef group to be launched
    An 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry is to be launched on Monday night.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands a launch meeting will take place tonight in Co Meath of a newly formed group of beef farmers who have come together because of deep concerns over where the beef industry is going and the lack of profit for the primary producer.

    The Irish Farmers Journal has seen the launch document, which includes an 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry.

    Number of phases

    The plan outlines a number of phases, which include several references to producer groups and outlines an aim to have “50% of the country’s beef cattle sold through producer groups in the next three years”.

    Under phase one, the group proposes to hand in a number of demands to factories and give them time to respond.

    If the response isn’t adequate, the group proposes “not to send any cattle to a factory under a set price” and “not to send cattle to a particular factory at short notice”.

    Bonus

    The group has also proposed a suckler-bred bonus to reflect the higher costs of suckler beef production.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands that over 1,000 farmers have engaged with the group so far and the target for the group is to grow participant numbers very fast to add further strength to its calls to action.

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