'Fianna Fáil offer populist criticisms with no solutions' – Deering
Pat Deering, chair of the Oireachtas agriculture committee, was highly critical of Fianna Fáil's response to the efforts made by Government on live exports.

Fine Gael’s Pat Deering has accused Fianna Fáil of continuing to offer populist criticism with no solutions in regards to the challenges facing Irish agriculture.

Deering, who chairs the Oireachtas agriculture committee, added that in the turbulent times surrounding Brexit it was reassuring to see “that some things never change”.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD made the remarks in response to criticism from Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for agriculture Charlie McConalogue on the Government’s response to live export delays.

Live exports

Yesterday, McConalogue said an additional 400 calf spaces made available in Cherbourg which were welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed did not go far enough.

Deering fired back saying: “Fianna Fáil’s only agriculture policy seems to be to criticise the Minister and we see that yet again this week, even though extra lairage space has been secured in Cherbourg.”

McConalogue was called on to reveal Fianna Fáil’s big plan for agriculture and advised to brush up on how the supply chain works.

Export process

“Charlie McConalogue seems to be missing the point of the work the Department of Agriculture is doing and how it fits into the export process,” said Deering.

“Exporters need to work together here and be honest with farmers.”

He said a ship had been offered by the Purcell brothers with capacity for 4,000 calves. However, according to Deering exporters had been holding back resulting in a detrimental effect on the prices of calves and dairy stock.

It was amazing, he said, that McConalogue had not encouraged exporters to use this service so that farmers could get the advantage of the facility being offered.

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The farmer's daily wrap: farm fatality, African swine fever and bees
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday 24 May.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that it will be rather cloudy at first on Saturday, with patches of light rain or drizzle, mainly affecting the western half of the country.

Cloud is forecast to start to break later in the morning, with spells of sunshine for the afternoon and evening.

However, Atlantic coastal areas will remain quite dull and damp.

It looks set to be a humid day, with top temperatures ranging from 16°C to 20°C in light to moderate southwesterly breezes.

In the news

  • There is a mixed bag of weather ahead for the weekend, with showers, sunshine and highs of 20°C.
  • Minister warning to holiday-makers over African swine fever: “Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami.”
  • A man in his 60s has died following an accident on a farm in Aughnacliffe, Co Longford.
  • Just 207t of skimmed milk powder (SMP) remains in the EU’s intervention measure.
  • And Irish citizens are being asked to report sightings of bees in a nationwide online survey.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Free trailer marking against theft.
  • The latest from Newford Farm.
    Three-man race for ICSA president
    The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) will elect a new president in June.

    Three candidates are in the running to become the next president of the ICSA following the close of nominations on Friday evening.

    In alphabetical order, these candidates are as follows:

  • Hugh Farrell, Cavan.
  • Dermot Kelleher, Cork west.
  • Edmond Phelan, Waterford.
  • The election will take place in Portlaoise on the evening of Thursday 27 June.

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    Family-owned feedlots entitled to compensation – ICSA

    Brexit beef compensation: what farmer groups want

    Watch: vegetable growers turn on the irrigation systems
    O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming have both turned on the irrigation pumps this week.

    In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.

    Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.

    “We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.

    “The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”

    In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.

    But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.

    “You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.

    "It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”

    Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.

    “We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.

    “There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”

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    Fields drying up as some farmers wait for rain

    Flood risk farmers urged to make submissions

    Crops remain in good condition but have become more variable