Inside this week's Irish Farmers Journal
Diesel driving farming costs up, GLAS balancing payments will begin this Friday and beef cattle prices up €55/head on last year.

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Weekly weather: dry with some scattered showers
There will be some good dry spells this week, but plenty of scattered showers are forecast too.

Monday

Monday is forecast to be a sunny day, with any early mist patches clearing, while cloud will increase from the Atlantic towards evening.

After a cool start, Met Éireann said temperatures will climb to between 12°C and 14°C, in light variable breezes becoming light southeasterly in the afternoon.

It will be dry at first on Monday night, but cloud will thicken from the Atlantic and outbreaks of rain will move in from the Atlantic later and looks set to extend eastwards across the country.

Tuesday

Rain is forecast at first on Tuesday, but will become light and scattered, with some dry spells developing by noon or so and with a few sunny spells in places.

However, later in the day and overnight Met Éireann has said a band of heavy showers will follow in from the Atlantic. Top temperatures on Tuesday will reach 17°C, with fresh and gusty south to southwest winds veering westerly overnight.

Wednesday

Wednesday is promised to bring a mix of cloud and sunny intervals. Met Éireann has forecast a lot of dry weather, but there will be some showers, these are most likely to affect parts of Ulster and Connacht.

Like Tuesday, it is forecast to be fresh and gusty with west to northwest winds moderate in the afternoon and evening. Top temperatures will vary between 10°C to 13°C. Tuesday night looks set to be cold and breezy, with clear spells and scattered showers. Lowest temperatures will vary between of 1°C to 5°C.

Thursday

Another dry day is forecast for Thursday, with the latest weather charts from Met Éireann showing a ridge of high pressure moving in. The east of the country will see the best sunshine, but cloud will tend to build from the west late in the day.

Highest temperatures on Thursday will be between 11°C to 14°C in moderate to fresh southwesterly breezes. Mild and breezy conditions are forecast overnight, with rain spreading in off the Atlantic.

Friday

The latest indications for Friday suggest some rain for a time, but this is likely to clear eastwards later, with top temperatures of 12°C to 16°C with moderate southwest winds, according to Met Éireann.

Contrasting field conditions

Soil moisture figures from Met Éireann show that soils are currently near saturation in the northwest and west, but in parts of the east/northeast soil moisture deficits are still around 20 to 30 mm.

As of Monday, Met Éireann has said all well drained soils will be saturated or approaching saturation, with some moderately drained and poorly drained soils becoming waterlogged.

Changes to tax rules to affect farmers
Farmers and other employers are being warned by Revenue and by their accountants to be ready for new PAYE rules which start in just 10 weeks.

Farmers and other employers have received letters from Revenue in recent days warning them to prepare for new payroll rules coming into effect on 1 January next.

There will be a number of changes. The most visible is that every time wages are paid to an employee the details will have to be submitted immediately to Revenue on a Payroll Submission Request. Overall, there will be closer scrutiny of wages and payments to employees from January.

The Revenue letters advise that employers who use their accountant to handle PAYE and PRSI matters should now check that the accountant can fulfil its new requirements. Most farmers who employ workers fall into this category – they have this paperwork carried out by their accountant.

The major accountancy firms are now gearing for the new rules which Revenue has launched under the slogan “PAYE modernisation”.

IFAC head of tax Declan McEvoy notes that the new reporting requirements will be relatively straightforward where a farm employee works regular hours and is paid the same wages every week or month.

It will be more complex where an employee works irregular hours, common with part time and family employees, and is therefore paid varying amounts each week.

In such cases, farmer clients will have to notify IFAC each week of what wages have been paid, to allow IFAC submit the Payroll Submission Request. Revenue will penalise employers whose submissions are late.

New staff unit

IFAC is currently preparing a phone app which it hopes will make it straightforward for farmer clients to notify it of wages paid, typically every week. A new staff unit will work to ensure high compliance by IFAC’s farmer clients.

This week, IFAC has written to farmers about the new reporting requirement.

“This means significant changes that will impact on you, your employees and us, where we act as your agent for PAYE/PRSI,” it states.

Revenue wants a list of an employer’s current employees, IFAC told its clients.

“Revenue will use this list to ensure that your employees are all registered on the introduction of PAYE modernisation on 1 January.”

“Failure to engage in this process may result in your employees not being registered with Revenue on 1 January at which point emergency tax may be applied to them.”

On the broad sweep of the new rules, Declan McEvoy says: “Our immediate priority is to ensure you are operating PAYE correctly. Focus on eliminating any potential delays in reporting correct payroll information, particularly information in respect of benefits-in-kind and taxable expenses.

“Finally, bear in mind that the payroll data you submit will be fed into Revenue’s risk analysis systems. This may highlight weaknesses in your procedures which could trigger Revenue queries. If you have any concerns, it is advisable to talk to your accountant without delay.”

Some agri contractors and a small number of larger farm businesses handle payroll themselves, usually using payroll software.

In its recent letter, Revenue advises such businesses to ensure their software is capable of submitting the required reports from 1 January.

On this, Declan McEvoy says: "For any employers currently relying on manual or spreadsheet based systems, payroll software can help you maintain better records in-house. However, it may make sense to outsource your payroll to your accountant or a payroll service provider as they are likely to have technology in place that integrates with Revenue and reduces the likelihood of errors. In addition, they will have experienced payroll staff who can help you keep up to date with the latest requirements.”

Read more

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This week in photos: potato harvesting and Kilcullen Mart
Our top photos from the last week include sowing in Co Laois and dosing in Co Kildare.

Potato harvesting in Co Meath

Mark Sheridan, Peter Crosby, Noel Sheridan and Gerard Reid harvesting Cultra potatoes in excellent conditions beside Navan Racecourse in Co Meath. \ Barry Cronin

Dosing sucklers in Co Kildare

Suckler farmer Melvyn Payne and his son, Nigel, dosing their cales and cows for IBR and giving them a worm dose, on the family farm just outside Rathangan, Co Kildare. \ Philip Doyle

Kilcullen Mart

Liam Foster from Carlow, Matt Donoher from Ballybrittas and Sidney McKeon from Bunclody, at Wednesday's sale at Kilcullen Mart, Co Kildare. \ Barry Cronin

Farm walk in Co Carlow

A group of delegates from the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Conference made a visit to Michael and James Shepard's farm in Clonegal, Co Carlow, this week, which is an ABP trial farm. The roundtable brings together beef industry representatives from around the world to discuss improvements in their social and environmental record and meets in Co Kilkenny this week.

Sowing in Co Laois

Colin Johnston sowing winter barley on rented land in Killinard, Co Laois. Colin says the soil is really good at the moment for ploughing and sowing, which is allowing him to 'go up a couple of gears' when sowing and ploughing. \ Philip Doyle

Moving cows in Co Tipperary

Derry Foley gathering up his cows for evening milking at Garryroe, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Derry farms in partnership with his nephew, Diarmuid, and together they run 175 crossbred cows. The herd is currently producing 1.77kg of milk solids off grass and 5kg of meal. The last grazing rotation has just begun, with cows going into 2,200kg covers and farm cover standing at 1,150kg/ha. \ Donal O'Leary

Read more

Around the country in pictures

Tillage farmer Aidan Hand from Co Louth was forced to harvest early

#Harvest18 photo competition: the top 20 entries