Farm vouchers to promote use of contractors' precision agriculture
The farm machinery industry and contractor interests across Europe have made a proposal to implement a voucher system to encourage smaller farmers to access precision agriculture technologies.

Farm machinery industry and contractor interests across Europe have joined forces in a CAP Reform proposal to provide farmers with a voucher system to support the use of precision agriculture (PA) through the employment of high technology contractor services on farms.

CEMA, the European Farm Machinery Manufacturers Association and CEETTAR, the Organisation of Farm, Rural and Forestry Contractors, have prepared a joint proposal for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to allow smaller-scale farmers have cost-effective access to precision agriculture technology through the use of voucher based contractor services.

European research has shown that 25% of European farmers currently have access to PA technology, compared with 98% in the USA and Canada.


While the EU wants to keep its model of small family farms, many are considered not to be sustainable as small farms if they don’t have access to PA as a means of reducing production costs. The proposed voucher option would allow contractors to provide the benefits of PA services that smaller farmers cannot afford to buy.

The European Commission proposes to give a more important role to member states’ authorities in the new CAP, through national strategic plans. CEETTAR believes that the amount of the annual voucher would be calculated on a given percentage of the total cost of the service representing the PA part of it. FCI is the sole Irish member of CEETTAR and is supporting the voucher proposal.

Remote control Bobcats on the way
Bobcat has announced that it is launching a new remote control system for its compact loaders.

Bobcat is launching a new remote control system for its compact loaders. This system will allow the operator to control their loader remotely.

It is compatible with Bobcat skid-steer, compact track and all wheel steer loader models equipped with the company’s Selectable Joystick Controls. Bobcat claims it is the first manufacturer to introduce a remote control system as original plug and play equipment, rather than offering it as an add-on development from a third party. The company told the Irish Farmers Journal this new system will be commercially available later this year.

The system comprises of a portable industrial radio remote control unit that can be mounted and dismounted on machines in minutes.

Increased safety

Being able to control the loader from outside the cab increases safety by distancing the operator from the task in hand. This system also features an emergency stop button and drop and tilt detection.

Each remote-control kit is protected by a password, with two-way communication providing information about the loader (such as fuel and oil status warnings) on a 3.5in LCD display. Most of the functions that can be performed by direct loader operation can be done using the remote control. There is also speed management control to ensure easier operation in certain applications. It comes with two exchangeable batteries offering a 20-hour battery life.

EU plans new road rules for self-propelled farm machinery
Changes to legislation for self-propelled agricultural machinery on public roads could be on the way, with the EU looking at the harmonisation of standards across member states.

The European Commission is looking at changes to legislation to provide a European standard for the technical requirements of self-propelled agricultural machinery when used on public roads. At present, each EU country sets its own legislation for these requirements.

The European Commission has engaged a Lithuanian-based agency to survey machinery users and their representative bodies, such as the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI), to determine if there is a problem with vehicle harmonisation at national level. They are also seeking to establish the overall cost and benefit options from different approaches to harmonisation of the machines.

European machinery user organisations such as CEETTAR, the European Organisaton of Farm, Rural and Forestry Contractors, is also concerned that any changes to the legislation will result in additional machinery costs in the same way that the Tractor Mother Regulations (TMR) resulted in increased tractor prices in 2017.

CEMA, the European Farm Machinery Manufacturers Association, believes that new legislation will further improve road safety by introducing state-of-the-art requirements in countries where that is not the case at the moment.

Border counties vintage grassmen silage cutting to return
The border counties vintage grassmen are set to take to the field again on Sunday 2 June 2019, with this year’s event set to be their largest yet.

The event will kick off at 12pm and takes place in Adree, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. A range of vintage and classic silage cutting demonstrations will take place on a 26ac platform. Demonstrations will include single-chop silage cutting, vintage mowing, vintage silage demos and hay making.

The border counties vintage grassmen was first set up in 2013 and since then the voluntary group has donated €130,000 to local charities.

The group welcome all types of vintage and classic silage-cutting machinery to register beforehand and join them on the day. For more, contact 086-363 5056 or 086-875 9612.