EirGrid climbdown on GridLink project
A controversial EirGrid €500m project which would have seen 250km of overhead power cables run over Munster and Leinster has been shelved.

The GridLink project had been planned to run from Cork to Kildare with a number of different routes outlined.

EirGrid, the semi-State body in charge of the maintenance and upgrading of the national power network, has announced that instead of new pylons and a 400kV powerline, existing infrastructure will be used through a “regional plan”.

New technologies known as “series compensation” will be used to deliver increased power through existing power lines.

The regional plan outlines the use of existing lines between Moneypoint and Dublin to deliver on the energy needs of the country.

The proposed GridLink project had encountered significant opposition, with community groups expressing concern over the erection of new pylons between Kildare and Cork.

Last October, the Irish Farmers Journal exclusively reported on ESB’s submission on the green energy paper which questioned the Government’s strategy regarding the need for new pylons.

Reaction

IFA’s Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has welcomed EirGrid’s decision not to develop the proposed project in the south-east. He called on EirGrid to review plans for similar projects in the north east and the west of Ireland.

Mr Kingston said, “Ireland’s economic recovery is more energy efficient, with overall electricity demand continuing to fall below projections. This fall in expected energy demand and the use of technologies from other countries has led to EirGrid’s decision today. The decision by EirGrid must lead to an immediate review of the other electricity infrastructure projects, to ensure the impact on farm families and rural communities is limited.”

Good week/bad week: winners and losers in Irish farming
We take a look at who had a week to remember in Irish farming and who had a week to forget.

It was a good week for…

  • Farmers in the Sheep Welfare Scheme, as the Department of Agriculture confirmed that payments under the scheme are to issue from the end of November.
  • Beef factories, after an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended their right to make a profit from the industry.
  • Farmers in general, as more farmers are set to gain from the new Areas of Natural Constraint maps which will be released this month.
  • The Irish Farmers Journal, as it took home the Digital Excellence award at the 2018 Newsbrands Ireland Journalism Awards held in the Mansion House on 15 November.
  • It was a bad week for. . .

  • Aurivo suppliers, as it announced a 1c/l price cut for October milk, with suppliers receiving a base price of 29.4c/l excluding VAT.
  • UK prime minister Theresa May, as despite finally coming to agreement with the EU on a withdrawal agreement, her Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey resigned.
  • Those in the Fair Deal scheme, as further delays appear to be in store for long-awaited changes to the nursing home scheme.
  • Some farmers, as despite updated legislation and Government guidelines, some actively farmed land remains on the register of sites carrying a heavy tax liability in the new year.
    The farmer's daily wrap: plant-based 'steak' and Nuffield conference
    Here is your news roundup of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for 17 November.

    Weather forecast

    Saturday is forecast to be a mostly dry day, with a few patches of mist and drizzle.

    Met Éireann has said that cloud will break at times to allow a few bright or sunny spells through.

    Top temperatures will vary between 11°C to 14°C.

    In the news

  • A new plant-based ‘steak’ appeared on the shelves in Tesco Ireland this week.
  • Looking at the weekend weather, it will be mostly fine and sunny, with some mist and drizzle in parts.
  • Payments to farmers under year two of the Sheep Welfare Scheme are due to hit accounts by the end of November.
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has defended the right of beef factories to make a profit from the industry.
  • Leadership and the ability to attract good people to work on dairy farms dominated the conversation at this year’s Nuffield Ireland annual conference in Dublin on Friday.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • More details on the Shannon dredging points.
  • Five reasons you should go to Dairy Day 2018.
  • We go island-hopping - Mayo style.
    EU cuts tax on Russian fertiliser by one third
    The one-third cut in anti-dumping duty is equal to €12/t on CAN.

    The EU Commission has cut duties on Russian ammonium nitrate by one third, raising the prospect of more competition in supply of nitrogen fertilisers and downward pressure on prices.

    The decision follows the Commission’s two-year review of the anti-dumping duties, made at the request of the IFA and other EU farm organisations. The duties have been in place for decades.

    Change

    The change, confirmed this week in the Official Journal of the European Union, sees duties cut from €47/t to €32/t for most grades of ammonium nitrate.

    The reduction equates to €12/t on CAN, according to the IFA.

    This would protect farmers and help restore incomes and competitiveness

    “Irish fertiliser suppliers must reflect this reduction in CAN prices to the trade,” IFA Munster chair John Coughlan said.

    He also called for a change in how fertiliser prices are quoted to farmers.

    “Many merchants complain that they can’t obtain quotes from importers or blenders. That needs to change.

    "Irish merchants should move to quoting for fertiliser on a 24/7 basis, reflecting the way business is done from manufacturers to blenders and distributors.”

    2019 review

    The EU Commission will carry out a periodic review of its anti-dumping duties on Russian ammonium nitrate in 2019.

    IFA president Joe Healy said that the Commission should introduce a minimum import price system.

    “This would protect farmers and help restore incomes and competitiveness. Some EU manufacturers have become accustomed to double-digit profit margins due to the protection afforded by EU anti-dumping duties and customs tariff.”

    Read more

    Analysis: are we entering a period of fertiliser price rises?

    EU on track to cut fertiliser tax