FG and FF clash over 'cynical' suckler motion
Fine Gael TD Pat Deering has criticised a Fianna Fáil motion calling for increased support for suckler farmers, with both parties referencing the current Save Our Sucklers campaign.

Ahead of a debate on the motion this Wednesday, Fine Gael has slammed Fianna Fáil's move as a "cynical attempt to hijack the ongoing IFA and Irish Farmers Journal campaign".

The Save Our Sucklers campaign centres on an open letter calling on Irish and EU leaders to safeguard CAP funding, protect suckler farmers from the ongoing Mercosur, other trade deals and Brexit shocks, and introduce a €200/cow payment.

"Fianna Fáil has now moved to hijack this campaign by tabling a Dáil motion on the matter. Aside from jumping on the bandwagon, they are actually undermining the goals of the campaign," said Deputy Deering, who chairs the Oireachtas agriculture committee. He argued that increasing support for suckler farmers would use money already committed to farmers under GLAS and TAMS.

"Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not the correct way to go about supporting the suckler cow sector," Deputy Deering said, adding that funding a €200/cow suckler payment would require a cut to all farmers' BPS payments.

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Mercosur and Brexit present twin threat to sucklers

GLAS still main cause of Department underspend

DeLaval launches new rotary parlour
DeLaval has said its latest rotary milking parlour will focus on labour efficiency at a time when labour is becoming increasingly challenging for dairy farmers.

DeLaval has launched a new rotary parlour in Ireland and the UK. The E100 rotary is focused around animal welfare, milk quality, farm profitability and work efficiency, according to DeLaval.

Gary Edwards, CMS Solutions manager, stated: “The DeLaval E100 rotary has been designed around the customer’s and the animal’s needs. It has been designed as a complete milking system focussing on cow flow, cow comfort, efficiency and comfort for the milker.

“Combined with DelPro™ herd management software, it really offers the farmer complete control of his herd, making it easier for him to make management decisions. When working in conjunction with the unique DeLaval teat spray robot, it is incredibly labour efficient when labour is becoming increasingly challenging for dairy farmers.”

The parlour, DeLaval says, encourages calm cow flow by utilising a low-profile bail. Rapid entry and exit from the parlour is also prioritised in order to improve throughput. The parlour can be operated by one person, something DeLaval says can improve work efficiency.

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New DeLaval milking system aims to increase capacity and decrease costs

New parlour making waves in Kerry

Cows loose on Meath road
Motorists travelling on the R154 near Kiltale, Co Meath, are advised there are reports of cows loose on the road.

The AA roadwatch has received reports of cows loose along a regional road in Co Meath. The incident has been reported near Kiltale on the Trim/Batterstown road (R154).

The reports were recieved at 8.30am and gardaí are en-route to deal with the situation.

Widespread drop in points for agricultural courses
A number of agricultural science courses across the country have seen a reduction in the 2018 entry points requirement, as students opt for engineering courses.

Agricultural courses have seen a widespread drop in points, as many students opt for construction-orientated courses. Over 50,000 students will receive first-round higher-education offers today after getting their Leaving Cert results last week.

Agricultural courses at UCD, Dundalk IT and IT Tralee all experienced drops. General entry to agricultural science at UCD dropped by just four points to 451 but agri-environmental science fell by 20 points. Dairy business went in the opposite direction moving up to 30 points to 432. IT Tralee courses had some of the largest drops, with its Level 8 agricultural science course falling by 16 points and its Level 7 equivalent falling by 33 points.

Waterford IT was one of the few colleges to buck the trend, with both Level 8 and Level 7 agriculture courses jumping by 14 points and 18 points respectively. Agricultural engineering at Galway-Mayo IT saw a significant increase of 25 points.

Engineering

The increase in interest in engineering courses was reflected across the board. For general engineering courses at UCD, Trinity and NUI Galway points are up from anywhere between 10 and 30. It is likely this has been driven by the rising demand from industry for people with those skills.

Construction management at Dublin IT increased by 20 points to 346, while project and construction management at NUI Galway jumped a massive 32 points to reach 402.

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Nearly 300 agricultural science students hit top Leaving Cert marks