Irish Farmers Journal weekly podcast: GLAS, Ornua and social welfare
Listen to this week's podcast if you're wondering whether to apply for GLAS, interested in sharemilking or worried about the impact of social media on teenagers' exams.

In this week's podcast, Paul Mooney asks the Irish Farmers Journal's CAP specialist Peter Young and the IFA's rural development executive secretary Gerry Gunning whether Irish farmers should take the GLAS plunge before 22 May.

Agri-business editor Eoin Lowry looks at Ornua's strong annual results, and a couple from New Zealand share their experience of sharemilking with online journalist Aisling Hussey.

From the Country Living desk, consumer editor Ciara Leahy asks Peter Young about social welfare entitlements you may have overlooked and education reporter Mary Phelan shares some tips to switch off from social media in the lead up to this summer's exams.

Listen to each item separately:

Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up below!

Episode 3 - 15 April 2015: Farm safety and crop growth update

Episode 2 - 8 April 2015: Markets for Irish beef

Episode 1 - 31 March 2015: End of milk quotas

Around half of commonage management plans completed – IFA
Recent Department of Agriculture figures quoted by the IFA show that around 2,000 CMPs remain to be finalised.

Figures from various sources in recent weeks show that around 200 commonage management plans (CMPs) are submitted every week. The INHFA reported that 2,680 plans were outstanding on 20 June. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed reported that 2,470 remained to be submitted on 28 June. Now the IFA is quoting an even figure of around 2,000 completed, and as many outstanding.

At the current rate, it would be the end of September before all CMPs are submitted – a condition for commonage farmers in the GLAS scheme to receive their 15% balance payment for 2017.

The IFA estimates that 4,000 commonage farmers have not yet received that payment, worth a total of €2.5m.

Department figures for the end of June showed that Co Donegal had the largest proportion of outstanding CMPs, with only 265 submitted and 579 yet to be completed. Counties Mayo, Galway and Kerry also had a significant majority of CMPs outstanding. Co Cork was the only major commonage county where most CMPs had been submitted.

IFA hill farming chair Flor McCarthy has said that the Minister should instruct his Department to make contact with planners to determine whether they will complete plans or not. He referred specifically to the recent scaling down of collaboration between Teagasc and FRS on CMPs. "If they are unable to complete CMPs, the Department should appoint planners to finalise plans," he added.

Read more

Farmer loses appeal as adviser entered GLAS information incorrectly

BPS drought boost from Brussels
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan presented measures to help farmers' cashflow in the current drought conditions this Monday.

Farmers can receive a 70% Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) advance payment in October instead of the normal 50% in recognition of the current drought, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan announced on Monday.

Advance rate

A higher advance rate of 85% instead of 75% also applies to payments for rural development schemes. Ireland was among the countries requesting this derogation.

Commissioner Hogan said that a repeat of the measure, already used last year, would “help farmers to be able to buy feed and overcome some unforeseen production expenses that they would have at this time of the year due to the weather”.

He also allowed grazing and fodder production for this year on land lying fallow under greening rules.