There’s a lot going on this week in Clara, with the second cut of silage ready to ensile, as well as barley straw to draw in and the small matter of our annual TB test to get out of the way.
We have good help lined up to get through jobs quickly, so hopefully everything runs smoothly and we can get everything tidied up in time for the main event of the week in Croke Park on Sunday.
It’s great to get a day out in headquarters at any time of the year, but we’re a little bit out of our comfort zone heading up for a final in midsummer. The second week of September was more sacred than any other feast day in Kilkenny for the last two decades with virtually no holidays or events booked to clash with the annual trip to Dublin.
This July final has caught out plenty of people though that had holidays booked and the busy hotel season in Dublin will make the logistics a lot more difficult for others to travel long-distance to the game.
We were supporting for the last few years with proportionally more hope than expectation than previously, so that might have contributed to a lot of people taking their eye off the ball with preparations for the big day.
We’ll get the tickets organised anyway and make the pilgrimage up to worship at the altar of Mr Cody again. It’s seven years now since Liam has visited the Marble City which might not seem too long in some counties, but droughts tend to happen very quickly in Kilkenny, in all walks of life.
We won’t use the “D” word on farm just yet, but moisture is scarce again after the rain two weeks ago. That rain has left us in an OK position, with plenty of feed on hand for the next two weeks but regrowths are almost completely stalled again after that.
We have reduced feed to 2kg per cow again this week to speed up the rotation through some paddocks before covers get too strong, but we will have to push it up to 4kg or 5kg again next week to reduce demand again if no significant rain arrives.
The battle will be intense on Sunday in Croke Park and it looks like growing grass might be another battle through this summer in Kilkenny but we have an even bigger fight looming with certain sectors of the Government over the coming months on sectoral emissions targets in the agricultural sector.
We see our Dutch colleagues on the streets protesting vigorously this month on similar issues which would see a lot of their farms decimated and rendered completely unviable from a commercial point of view.
We are prepared to accept a 22% reduction in emissions from our sector, which will have a significant impact on incomes, jobs and possibly even the viability of some farms.
We have to stand very strongly together on this issue. All sectors of agriculture will be affected
But, we have some members of the Government and even the cabinet that are pushing for much higher cuts for agriculture.
We have to stand very strongly together on this issue. All sectors of agriculture will be affected.
We all need to communicate clearly to the Government that we will shoulder the appropriate burden for our sector and not an ounce more.
At a time when food security is a growing issue worldwide, when climate change will compromise more and more regions’ ability to produce enough food, we unfortunately have people in power in Ireland that want to severely reduce food production on our island.
We are an efficient, low-carbon footprint, highly modernised food producing nation.
The Government should be backing us to the hilt on this, not trying to close down our biggest indigenous industry at this time.
We need to stand up for ourselves like never before on this and follow the lead of our Dutch counterparts in making this a red line issue for all farmers.
The hurling will be finished early this year but we will need to carry the intensity, physicality and determination that we will see in Croke Park on Sunday through into the rest of the year in this battle.