IFA president Francie Gorman said the tillage payment of €100/ha announced by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis recently is a long way short of what is required.

“The reality is that before this announcement, the Government’s 2024 allocation for tillage farmers was nearly €30m down on 2023. This announcement is unlikely to even fill that hole,” he said.

“I met the minister two weeks ago and made a submission setting out a strong case for €250 per hectare. The minister’s announcement is far short of that,” he said.

“Instead of making a rushed announcement for an Árd Fheis audience, the minister should engage with the sector and come forward with proposals to address one of the biggest crises in the history of our tillage sector,” he said.

“The minister had cited budgetary challenges as a barrier to supporting the sector. The ball is now in the new Taoiseach’s court to increase the allocation to the Department of Agriculture to allow for a tillage scheme that will make a real difference,” he said.

‘Deep problems’

IFA grain chair Kieran McEvoy said the announcement by the minister showed he doesn’t have a grasp of the seriousness of the situation for growers on the ground.

“The weather conditions have only amplified the deep problems that exist for the tillage sector. The minister has to come forward with a credible package that gives some hope to specialist tillage growers,” he said.