Good week, bad week: winners and losers in farming this week
We reflect on those who had a week to remember in the farming world and those who had a week to forget.

Good week for

  • Irish food and drink exports, as Bord Bia revealed yet another year of record growth.
  • Tackling rural crime, as burglaries fell by 23% in November and December, according to figures released by gardaí.
  • Splashing the cash, as the Department of Agriculture is to spend €28m on computer systems to upgrade IT systems that deal with farmer schemes.
  • Moving stock, as around 2,000 high-quality breeding cattle are to be shipped to Turkey next week, with hopes more will go in the future.
  • Dairy, with news that a second Chinese company is to open an infant formula manufacturing plant in Ireland.
  • Bad week for

  • Farming in the west, as the number of people employed in agriculture has fallen by over 40% since 1996.
  • Milk prices, as Dairygold CEO Jim Woulfe has warned that average milk prices could struggle to stay above 30c/l in 2018.
  • Fodder supplies, as a survey at the Inishowen Co-op beef seminar revealed Donegal farmers are 26% short of the fodder they need.
  • Farm safety, as medics at Cork University Hospital (CUH) raise concerns about the lack of mandatory safety training for farmers.
    This week in photos: New Ross and Newport Marts
    Our top farming photos from the last week include harvesting and hay-making.

    Front page photo: Bales in Co Kildare

    Hundreds of bales on the Kelly family farm in Athy, Co Kildare. Conor Kelly has been tasked with moving these bales. The family also grows gluten-free oats, rapeseed and wheat. \ Claire-Jeanne Nash

    Haymaking in Co Cavan

    Charlie Reburn and Peter McGorry in Corraneary, Co Cavan, raking and baling hay for JMC agri contractors. \ Philip Doyle

    My Farming Week in Co Kilkenny

    Brothers Tom and Jim Murphy in Fiddown, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny. The brothers are currently switching the farm from beef to dairy and hope to begin milking in 2019.

    Winter barley harvesting in Co Kildare

    Park Avenue Farm in Boley, Co Kildare, is a family run farm and grain stores. The Kellys run a tillage, sheep and beef enterprise. Michael and his three brothers, Jerry, John and Jimmy, work together on the farm. Michael’s son and daughter, David and Clodagh, are currently studying ag Science in UCD. \ Philip Doyle

    Grubbing beet in Co Wexford

    Ciaran Lancaster grubbing beet in Ballybeg, Fernes, Co Wexford. He is contracting for tillage and beef farmer Pat Rourke. Ciaran explains that beet holds up well in drought, needing little water. \ Philip Doyle

    Harvesting in Co Carlow

    Joe Walsh harvesting winter barley in Ballybar, Co Carlow. He is harvesting a Bazooka six-row highbred with a moisture content of 15.5%, which was sown in the last week of October 2017. \ Philip Doyle

    Newport Mart

    Liam Philips from Killoscully, Jimmy Kennedy from Silvermines and Francis Ryan from Birdhill, at the sheep sale in Newport Mart, Co Tipperary. \ Mike Hoare

    PJ Fogarty, Ruth Minihan and Baden Powell, all form Newport, and Liam Shanahan form Broadford, Co Clare, at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    John and Dolores deCourcy from Limerick at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    Liam Shanahan from Kilbane, Co Clare with Jack and Mary Berkery from Rearcross at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

    New Ross Mart

    Cattle in the ring at Monday's sale in New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Kevin Barry, Ann Furlong and Michael Cody at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Anthony Ryan and Richard Kirwan from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Eyes on the ring at the weekly sale at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

    Read more

    This week in photos: Loughrea Mart and winter barley harvesting

    Around the country in pictures

    This week in photos: BEEF 2018 and wholecrop harvest

    Tests for residues and illegal medicines shows 99.7% compliance
    The Department of Agriculture released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) in 2017 on Sunday.

    The overall rate of compliance with the NRCP stands at 99.7%. The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants.

    18,513 samples were tested in 2017, taken across all 8 food producing species (bovine, ovine, porcine, equine, poultry, farmed game, wild game and aquaculture) as well as milk, eggs and honey. Most samples are taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products that are more likely to contain illegal residues.

    Risk

    The Department said that this high level of compliance has been consistent going back to 2013.

    Just 51 samples were non-compliant and of these the majority related to residues of authorised medicines. Risk evaluations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland were carried out in response to each result and it was found that there was no unacceptable food safety risk to consumers. In these circumstances, none required a recall of products from the market. In all cases where positive results were found, a follow up investigation takes place at the farm of origin. Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2017 indicated the absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland.

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    Illegal slaughterhouse posed 'danger to public health'