Air Corps to join fire crews battling Donegal wildfire
The fire began in the Annagry area of west Donegal on Monday morning.

Fire crews are working to keep an extensive wildfire in Co Donegal under control.

The fire broke out around 6am on Monday morning at Annagry in west Donegal and continued to burn throughout the afternoon in the Annagry, Belcruit and Loughanure areas.

Some 15 fire appliances from 12 brigade areas are currently deployed at the scene, according to Donegal County Council.

There are no reported casualties or damaged properties at this time, the councial said at 3pm on Monday, although there are reports of a house damaged by the fire.

The Air Corps has been called in to help with the efforts via helicopter, while army personnel were also en route on Monday evening.

Fire risk

There is a code orange high fire risk notice in place for all areas where hazardous fuels such as gorse, heather, dried grasses and other dead vegetation exist.

Donegal County Council has appealed to landowners and members of the public to exercise caution and to take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of wildfires involving material such as gorse, heather and similar.

Landowners and members of the public are urged to be vigilant and to report any uncontrolled or unattended fires immediately to the fire service by dialling 999 or 112.

Advice

The council also urged landowners and members of the public not to engage in activities that could cause wildfires.

Householders or building owners in areas susceptible to wildfire are advised to remove or cut back any vegetation in the immediate vicinity of their house, building or oil tank to prevent wildfires damaging or destroying their property.

Under the Wildlife Act 1976 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated between 1 March and 31 August in any year.

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Waterford start-up VirtualVet helping farmers to track animal drug usage
Waterford firm VirtualVet is an international company that tracks drug usage in animals associated with the human food chain.

VirtualVet is one of the agricultural finalists at this year’s National Enterprise Awards, which is taking place on 29 May.

The Waterford start-up formed three years ago and now has five members of staff.

VirtualVet tracks and works to change drug usage in the food chain.

VirtualVet serves three markets:

  • Farmers who must record usage under compliance.
  • Agri-food and animal health industries.
  • Governments monitoring drug usage in the food chain.
  • Services provided

    Speaking with co-founder and managing director of VirtualVet Sinead Quealy, we learned how the company works and gathers the useful drug-usage data.

    “We provide a free service to farmers gathering information on a farm level about their drug usage on animals, which benefits them, as it covers their compliance,” Sinead said.

    “VirtualVet then gets paid for this data by other companies interested in analysing drug usage in the food chain, such as ABP.

    "Pharmaceutical companies also have recently begun requesting this data.”

    “At the moment, 100% of our work is focused on the agriculture sector, but there is potential for movement into drug usage in humans and harnessing the useful data.”

    Assessments

    On reaching the National Enterprise Awards final, Sinead said: “By arriving to this point in the competition, we have gotten the chance to make assessments of the company that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.

    "By preparing ourselves for judging and presentation to the external public, we have been able to make significant improvements to the company.”

    VirtualVet was the winners of this year’s Waterford Local Enterprise Awards and is hoping for success on the national stage this year.

    Awards

    The National Enterprise Awards celebrate small businesses from across the country, focusing on start-ups, innovation and exports, with the finals taking place on 29 May at the Mansion House, Dublin.

    There is over €40,000 in prizes to be won, with the overall winner taking home €10,000.

    Terra NutriTech was last year’s winners, an ag-tech company that specialises in precision liquid supplementation for livestock.

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    Win a tractor for a tenner in charity raffle
    Farmers and machinery enthusiasts have until September to buy raffle tickets to be in with a chance of winning a tractor.

    A 1982 Massey Ferguson 240 is being raffled off this September. The raffle is in aid of Donegal Breast Cancer Clinic and Kevin’s Kids Fund. The tickets are €10 each or three for €25.

    The recently refurbished tractor will be on display at the Inish Tractor Road Run 2019 on Sunday 2 June, which is also in aid of the two charities. The tractor run will leave Malin Head at 11am and tour the Inishowen Peninsula.

    Raffle tickets are available to win this tractor

    “We try to do it for charities that are not Government funded,” said Gary Monagle from the organising committee. “Last year, we raised €23,000.”

    Volunteers

    There are eight people on the committee and they all volunteer their time to organise the tractor run and refurbish the tractor that is being raffled off.

    “A right bit of work has been done on the tractor. There are 2,500 hours on it and it’s from England.

    "All the agricultural shops around the area helped us out by donating paint or whatever we needed,” Monagle said.

    If you want to get involved in the tractor run or buy raffle tickets, you can visit the Facebook page.

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    Music and machinery at Donegal open farm

    This week in photos: Fermoy Mart and silage cutting
    Our top farming photos from the last week include farmers in Kilkenny, Limerick and Carlow.

    Paddy Kennedy spreading fertiliser

    Dairy farmer Paddy Kennedy from Cournellan, Borris, Co Carlow, spreading 27% nitrogen at 35 units per acre. \ Philip Doyle

    Suckler and sheep farmer Micheál Brendan

    Suckler and sheep farmer Micheál Brendan from Aghclare, Co Kilkenny, feeding his ewes and lambs. \ Philip Doyle

    Tuesday's cattle sale at Fermoy Mart

    John Sweeney from Shanballymore, John McSweeney from Kildorrery, Paddy Geaney from Castletownroche and Michael Clancy from Ballyhooly. \ Donal O'Leary

    Tom and Mike O'Neill from Knockanore, Co Waterford. \ Donal O'Leary

    Auctioneer Martin Lonergan selling cattle for Pat O’Riordan (right) from Ballyhooly, as Kevin Casey records all the details of the sale. \ Donal O’Leary

    Pat McNamara bringing in his cows for milking

    Pat McNamara and his son Shane bringing in their herd for evening milking on the home farm at Honeypound, Croom, Co Limerick. Pat runs a herd of 70 cows that are currently milking 25 litres per day at 3.35% protien and 3.95% butterfat on 3kg of meal. Pat is two weeks into his 12-week breeding season and has used AI on his top 25 cows and is now running an Angus bull with the remainder of his herd. \ Donal O’Leary

    Paddy Freyne mowing silage

    Paddy Freyne takes a break from studying for his Leaving Cert exams to help his brother-in-law Walter Burke prepare first-cut silage on his dairy farm in Tobernabrone, Co Kilkenny. \ Philip Doyle

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