Calf's tongue cut out by 'sick individual' in the middle of the night
A Donegal farmer has appealed to people to be vigilant about security after a calf had its tongue cut out on his farm in the middle of the night.

Gardaí are investigating an incident the Moville/Greencastle area of Donegal in which a calf appears to have its tongue cut out in a malicious attack.

“He didn’t bite it out… it appears to have been sliced out. It’s the whole tongue that is gone,” the farmer, John, told Highland Radio on Thursday. The month-old calf was in a pen with another calf in a locked shed and it was a clean cut.

The farmer made the point that if the calf had caught its tongue on something the cut would not have been so far back.

Knocked out

“You have to ask yourself what kind of a sick individual would do something like this. When we were working with the calf afterwards he was not easy to hold. There is a level of restraint that had to be done here. When the vet came to stitch it up it just wasn’t an easy task; the calf basically had to be knocked out until the bleeding had stopped.”

While the vet attended the calf to stitch up the wound, the calf is now having difficulty suckling.

You have to ask yourself what kind of a sick individual would do something like this

“It’s heartbreaking to watch it. He’s up trying to suckle the cow. The cow is trying to make him suckle but the teat gets in to the mouth and that’s as far as it goes. He’s getting upset, she’s getting upset, everyone is upset. It’s not a nice thing to be watching.”

John called on other farmers to be vigilant about security, citing thefts and other security breaches on farms around the country.

“Unfortunately it’s getting to the stage where we will have to be in ‘fortress farming’,” he said.

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Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

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EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.