Calls for fodder import scheme for drought-hit farmers
It is unlikely farmers will be able to grow enough fodder for the winter ahead and a fodder import scheme is needed, IFA president Joe Healy has said.

A fodder import scheme will have to be part of the Government’s response to the drought conditions as soon as possible to give co-ops and merchants the best chance of sourcing fodder from other countries, IFA president Joe Healy has said.

Healy said Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has to introduce an import scheme to help alleviate problems for the coming winter.

“Farmers will save as much fodder as they can, but it is very unlikely that we will be able grow enough. An import scheme would help to meet the demand," he said.

The IFA president said the organisation is still waiting for clarification on key GLAS derogations for low-input grassland and catch crops, which would help to release more land to conserve fodder.

“Farmers also need more flexibility on fertiliser application rules to allow them to maximise grass growth in the next few months,” he said.

Low-cost loans

The IFA president again called on Minister Creed to introduce immediately the low-cost loans which were promised in last October’s Budget, adding that these loans must be available for working capital.

“Many farmers have now run up huge bills with their co-ops and merchants purchasing additional feed. Opening up the loans would make available over €150m in liquidity for farmers which would help to pay feed and other bills,” Healy said.

“All direct payments have to be rolled out on time, starting with the increased ANC payment next month and the 70% advance payment under the Basic Payment Scheme in October.”

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Arrabawn holds December milk price
The processor is the most recent to announce that its milk price will be unchanged.

Arrabawn has decided to hold its price for December milk at 30.6c/l excluding VAT.

The price has remained unchanged for several months.

Most co-ops opted to leave milk prices unchanged for December.


Dairygold announced that it will hold their December milk price at 30.36c/l excluding VAT.

The price is inclusive of a 0.5c/l quality bonus based on standard constituents of 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

The co-op has also held this price for several months.

Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia and Kerry Group held their price at 30.4c/l (excluding VAT) for December milk supplies.

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Aurivo and Carbery set milk prices for December

The farmer's daily wrap: low-cost loans and BDGP map
Check out the latest headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather forecast.

Weather forecast

A status yellow nationwide snow and ice warning is in place from 7pm Monday 21 January until 9pm the following day.

According to Met Éireann, hill and mountain areas are expected to be the worst affected.

Frost and ice are predicted and temperatures will dip to -1°C, with fresh winds.

In the news

  • Minister Creed has said some 2,511 farmers are yet to pass the approval process for their BDGP payment.
  • Vets have criticised the Department’s level of action in the run-up to Brexit.
  • Grant funding of up to €25,000 is available to farmers participating in GLAS to restore traditional farm buildings and structures.
  • Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.
  • Social Farming is set to double the number of its farmer participants from 60 to 120, according to its annual report.
    Minimum €50,000 draw-down for low-cost loans
    Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.

    The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has confirmed details of the Future Growth Loan Scheme, including that farmers will have to apply for a minimum of €50,000 to avail of the scheme.

    The long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will offer eligible businesses and farmers loans at an interest rate of 4.5% or less.

    The maximum draw down is €3m and the loans are for terms of between eight and 10 years.

    Banks have been invited to apply to distribute the new low-cost loan scheme, with Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank all having previously expressed interest in taking part in the scheme.

    Loans in March

    Up to €300m is available under the scheme, which is being developed in conjunction with the SBCI, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Business.

    Minister for Business Heather Humphreys previously told the Irish Farmers Journal that she hopes to see the loan scheme fully operational by March this year.

    Financial institutions have until 11 February to submit their applications to become lending partners.

    Previous scheme

    Under the previous low-cost loan scheme, the interest rate was set at 2.95%, with loan terms available between 18 months and three years.

    A total fund of €150m was available, with roughly €145m drawn down by farmers. By October last year, some €47.5m had been repaid.

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    Listen: low-cost loans to land in March

    Where is the low-interest loan fund?