Gene editing classification could solve GMO debate
Michal Bobek, from the European Court of Justice, has expressed his belief that new gene editing techniques could pave the way for GM in Europe.

New gene editing technology should be exempt from EU regulations which govern genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to the European Court of Justice Advocate General Michal Bobek.

Bobek argues that new forms of gene editing, known as New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs), should be considered exempt from EU regulations governing GMOs because it doesn’t involve foreign plant bodies being inserted into the genetic sequence.

CRISPR-Cas is an example of one such genetic engineering technique, which facilitates crop breeding by making cuts at specific locations within the plant genome without introducing foreign genes.

The subsequent repair of these cuts by the plants’ endogenous repair mechanisms then introduce precise changes.

GMO debate

There are conflicting opinions on GMOs in Europe, with some farmers arguing that there is a lack of consumer knowledge on the safety of GMO crops and their potential in the European farming sector.

There has been consistent resistance from some member states on the renewal of pesticides such as glyphosate, and many farmers argue that the introduction of pest-resistant GM crops would answer the pesticide issue.

In the EU, GMO crops are classed as ‘products’ and in principle they enjoy free movement around all 28 member states, but countries currently resist and contest their movement and growth mainly due to consumer concerns.

Read more

Science-based evidence required in GM debate

Minister open to GM crop production in Northern Ireland

The farmer's daily wrap: M&S protest and weather warning
Catch up with all the headlines from the day and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Wet and windy conditions are forecast by Met Éireann for Saturday with the risk of severe and potentially damaging gusts during the evening.

The rain will be heavy and persistent at times, with localised surface flooding possible.

Maximum afternoon temperatures will range 7°C to 11°C degrees generally.

Strong to gale force southeasterly winds will veer west to northwest during the course of the afternoon and evening.

In the news

  • Farmers from the IFA held a protest outside Marks & Spencer in Liffey Valley on Friday over reductions on the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg.
  • Met Éireann has issued yellow weather warnings for the whole country that will be in place for all 24 hours of Saturday.
  • The PSNI is seeking information to help in the recovery of 20 cattle that have been reported stolen from Armagh.
  • Co-ops have suggested a weakening of dairy markets is reflected in lower milk prices, but IFA dairy chair Tom Phelan said the signs are there to hold the price.
  • Co Down-based agri supplier and contractor Joseph Walls spread lime for a customer near Castletown, Co Meath, earlier this week.
    Watch: farmers protest over low vegetable prices in Dublin
    Farmers from the IFA held a protest outside Marks & Spencer in Liffey Valley on Friday over reductions on the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg.

    Potato and vegetable growers held a protest outside Marks and Spencer in Liffey Valley, Dublin, on Friday over the below-cost selling of Irish produce.

    Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, IFA potato chair Thomas McKeown said that Marks & Spencer was selling 2kg of potatoes at 39c.

    "This works out at €180/t. The costs we've had all year between the drought, the wet spring at the start and yields - yields are way back.

    "In fairness, supermarkets during the year helped during the drought, but this has started up now pre-Christmas.

    "There's absolutely no need for it. Veering away from potatoes, there's Brussels sprouts in there [M&S] - €3.00 for Spanish sprouts and 39c for Irish ones - that's wrong."

    For more on the protest, pick up next week's Irish Farmers Journal.

    Read more

    IFA protests outside M&S store over 'predatory pricing model'

    Retailers warned against Christmas food discounting

    Weather warning: up to 50mm of rain expected tomorrow
    Met Éireann has issued two weather warnings for Saturday 15 December.

    Unsettled weather is to bring rainfall of 30mm to 50mm across the country on Saturday 15 December.

    Met Éireann issued a yellow weather warning for the whole country that will be in place for all 24 hours of Saturday.

    It is predicting that heavy rain could see rainfalls in excess of 50mm in some mountainous areas.

    Wind warning

    A yellow wind warning has also been issued, as gusts of up to 110km/h are likely for Saturday afternoon.

    The warning is in place for all of the country, as south to southeast winds reach 55km/h to 60km/h on Saturday morning.

    The winds will be strongest in the east and will veer west to northwest into the afternoon and evening.

    They will further increase to reach speeds of 55km/h to 65km/h.

    Gusts associated with these winds will range from 90km/h to 110km/h.