IFA grain committee chair Kieran McEvoy said the launch of the Diageo Regenerative Agriculture Pilot is a positive development.

“The Irish tillage sector has one of the lowest carbon footprints in Irish agricultural and this programme will assess and examine regenerative agriculture techniques which will further improve the tillage sector’s environmental and sustainability credentials,” McEvoy said.

“Farm-based programmes such as this will play an important role in improving knowledge of soil health, biodiversity and the potential for carbon sequestration on the selected tillage farms and IFA look forward to discussing the measures and results with Diageo in due course,” he added.

“Cooperation between tillage farmers, grain merchants such as Cooney Furlong, Boortmalt and key end users like Diageo is vital in addressing the sustainability challenges ahead and pilots such as this one further enhance the Irish malting, milling and roasting barley supply chain,” the IFA grain committee chair concluded.

Government pig sector funding an important first step

IFA president Tim Cullinan said that the funding announced for the pig sector is an important first step in addressing the current crisis.

“I would acknowledge the efforts of the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue and his officials and it is important that this funding is deployed quickly and without excessive bureaucracy” he said.

Pig farmers are currently losing between €35 and €40 a pig

“Unfortunately, there is no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel on this crisis.

“While the announcement on 22 February, will certainly help it will not be sufficient unless there is an unexpected turn in the market” he said.

IFA national pig chair Roy Gallie said: “Pig farmers are currently losing between €35 and €40 a pig and it is very tough for pig farmers at present. We must get this money out to them as a matter of urgency.”