Hogan defends shift in CAP emphasis from rules to results
Commissioner Phil Hogan said farmers were frustrated with the red tape in the existing cross-compliance system.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has defended his vision for the next CAP saying anyone who thought it would make things more complicated clearly had not read the proposals.

There would be a huge reduction in complexity for farmers and administrators in a system focused on results rather than cross compliance, Hogan told EU agricultural ministers in Brussels on Tuesday 14 May.

Concerns were raised by ministers from a number of countries, including Ireland, that a requirement to prepare annual progress reports on strategic plans would create an unnecessary burden.

Compliance

Ministers were asked to compare the suggestions to the current system of compliance where reports are made annually on the inspections carried out at farm level and the breaches that had been found.

Commissioner Hogan stressed that all these requirements would be eliminated.

He said the current system had left farmers annoyed with red tape and how small errors could contribute to a significant reduction in their incomes.

Removing the need for the European Commission to implement strict rules removed problems for people in administration and farming, he said.

He added that the move was also necessary to justify the CAP budget and show European taxpayers that the policy was delivering a valuable return.

Concerns

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle represented Ireland at the meeting in the absence of Minister Michael Creed who is on a trade mission in China. Minister Doyle said Ireland welcomed the move away from cross compliance but stressed the new model must not be over complicated.

Both he and Commissioner Hogan said farmers needed clarity on CAP reforms as soon as possible. Continuing debate on the overall European budget was one of the major stumbling blocks.

Hogan said he would like to see negotiations between the three European institutions, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers, begin later this year.

This would be dependent on the European Parliament, for which elections are currently ongoing, finalising its position on CAP reforms.

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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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    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