Contractors 'paying the price for planning deficit' in untidy silage fields
The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has reported high levels of stones and debris causing machinery damage during silage making.

According to the FCI, stone and fallen tree branch damage to machines, coupled with damage caused by unrolled and heavily-rutted fields, neglected yards, fences and field entrances are a huge cost concern for silage contractors.

"Silage contractors are now paying the price for the advice given to farmers not to roll land, for fear of stunting grass growth," said FCI chief executive Michael Moroney. "Silage contractors have picked up everything from boulders to bed frames, with one contractor taking a full-size field gate into a new and expensive self-propelled mower," he added.

Diesel costs

According to the association, the resulting breakdowns have caused delays for other farmers and put time pressure on contractors, increasing health and safety risks for their employees. This is in addition to elevated fuel prices. With agricultural diesel currently 75c/l more expensive than last year, the FCI calculated the extra cost for a modern silage harvesting system to be in excess of €500 per day.

“We need farmers to understand that to achieve efficiencies from the modern silage harvesting machinery that Irish contractors are continuously investing in, fields and yards must be in a condition to allow these machines and their operators to perform to their optimum for cost-effective harvesting. That demands a basic level of farm planning and land management which most farmers must understand,” Moroney said.

Read more

Contractors racing through first cuts

Getting on top of grass quality

In pictures: silage 2018 hits top gear

Nearly 300 agricultural science students hit top Leaving Cert marks
Nearly 8,000 students sat agricultural science in the Leaving Cert this year, with a third of students at higher level achieving 70% or greater.

Of the 6,543 students who sat higher-level agricultural science, 295 (4.5%) have achieved the highest possible grade of one, which has replaced an A1. Since 2017, Leaving Certificate students are graded from one to eight, with one equalling 90% to 100%, two equalling 80% to 90% and so on.

Results

In total, 57,149 students sat the Leaving Certificate, down 2.4% on the year before. Of this, 7,780 students sat agricultural science with nearly 80% of students opting to sit the higher level paper.

A grade of three was the most common result in the higher-level exam, with nearly 19% of candidates achieving this result. Over a third of students received a grade three or greater.

A grade of six was the most common at ordinary level, with 28% of students receiving this mark. It was closely followed by a grade five at 24%.

Appeals

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has said that this year’s results are broadly in line with those obtained in 2017. They have reminded all candidates that detailed information about viewing their scripts and appealing their results can be found in the 2018 candidate information booklet.

A helpline will be operating from early on 15 August to provide information and advice to students and parents. The helpline number operated by the National Parents’ Council is 1800 265 165

The farmer’s daily wrap: UK short on fodder too and calls for import scheme
Read all about the top five farming stories and check out the weather outlook for Wednesday 14 August.

Weather forecast

Tonight will be cloudy and misty, with rain and drizzle extending gradually to most areas, according to Met Éireann. It will be mild and humid, with hill and coastal fog.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, will be mostly cloudy in Munster and Leinster, with scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle. Drier conditions will develop in much of Connacht and Ulster, with a few bright spells for a time. Outbreaks of showery rain will develop in the west and northwest later. Maximum temperatures will range from 17°C to 22°C.

In the news

  • UK breeders say that fodder shortages are also a major concern for them.
  • Fianna Fáil has called for the a fodder import subsidy to be up and running immediately.
  • The first shipment of Northern Irish beef has landed in the Philippines.
  • Kerry has set the price for its forward milk price scheme.
  • Calls have been made for signs warning motorists to watch out for cyclists to be placed on rural roads.
  • Coming up this Wednesday

  • See the latest Tullamore Farm update.