My farming week: Sean Croker, Lissard, Galbally, Co Limerick
Sean Croker is a young farmer from Galbally in Co Limerick. He spoke to William Conlon about his farming week.

I farm: “About 38 acres, with about eight acres of this wet land. I usually buy in calves and sell them as stores at about 18 months but, this year, I’m going to try and finish them as I think I will leave more of a profit.”

Calves: “I bought in 10 Friesian calves in February at two weeks of age from a dairy farmer in Cork for €90 each. I hope to buy more later in the year, all going well. They are out to grass straight away and have access to a shed just in case the weather gets bad.”

Health: “It’s the best year I’ve had with them health-wise – no scour or no coughing. I put this down to the cleanliness of the shed and the calves being out. I have the power washer out every day and it’s the most used tool on the farm. They get injected for coccidiosis before they leave the farm in Cork and I vaccinate for blackleg when they come here.”

Grass: “Growth has picked up over the last week and allowed me the chance to get fertiliser out at about two bags of 18-6-12 to the acre for the silage ground.”

Education: “I’m only 17 and still in school but I manage to balance the school work with the farming. I go to the Abbey School in Tipperary. I’d have everything done in an hour in the morning before school and a couple of hours in the evening. I hope to study agriculture after school – maybe a dairy management course.”

Quotable quote: “I do the farming for the love of the job.”

The farmer's daily wrap: inspections, milk price and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for 16 February 2019.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that there will be some mist or drizzle at times on Saturday morning, but most places will be dry during the day.

More general rain is forecast to develop along the west coast by evening.

It will be mild and breezy, with highs of 10°C to 12°C in southerly winds.

In the news

  • In pictures: silage 2019 kicks off in February in Kilkenny.
  • The board of Aurivo met on Friday and increased its January milk price.
  • Farmers are being driven out of business by over-zealous and unaccountable inspectors, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said.
  • Applications for the BEEP scheme, which has a funding provision of €20m, will be accepted up to and including next Friday 22 February.
  • Some 66 projects from across the country will be allocated funding of €62m under the €1bn rural regeneration and development fund.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Nathan Tuffy reports from Balla Mart.
    Fly-tippers return to burn rubbish to prevent identification
    A farmer who spoke out against illegal dumping and promised to search bags to find the culrpits spurred those responsible to return and burn out the rubbish.

    A farmer who said he would search through illegally dumped rubbish on his farm found it burnt to ashes when he returned two days later.

    Speaking on RTE’s Countrywide earlier in the year, tillage and livestock farmer Michael Doran from Co Wexford said he was targeted on two separate occasions by dumpers after Christmas.

    Bags of rubbish, mattresses, old clothes, children’s toys and household appliances were among the items dumped. At the time, Doran said it was his intention to search the bags in an effort to identify those responsible.

    I went down on the Monday and someone had put a match to it and burnt all the rubbish

    However, after the show aired on Saturday, and in a bid to prevent identification, the rubbish was reduced to a pile of ashes and burnt metal.

    “I went down on the Monday and someone had put a match to it and burnt all the rubbish,” Michael said.

    He said the farm had been preparing for calving and it had been a struggle to find the time to conduct the search.

    Men in vans

    Michael said there were a number of theories about where the rubbish had come from. Some people said they had seen adverts on various platforms from men in vans offering to take rubbish away for €25 to €30.

    “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” Michael warned. “That rubbish is being offloaded on properties like mine.”

    In a bid to tackle the issue, county councils are to introduce an inspection system similar to the TV licence. Homeowners will be asked to produce evidence that they are disposing of their waste legally to cut down on “men in vans”-type operations.

    Read more

    In pictures: 'It turns my stomach' – farmer victim of fly-tipping

    It’s time to get tough on illegal dumping – IFA

    Foot and mouth disease found in Australian airport seizures
    A number of products seized at Australian airports since December last year have tested positive for foot and mouth disease.

    Pork jerky, sausages and other pork products were seized by officials from the Australian Department of Agriculture in airports in the last three months.

    Two samples tested positive for foot and mouth disease, while one tested inconclusive. In total, more than 280 samples were tested for the disease to date this year.

    African Swine Fever was also detected in six of the December samples and 40 of this year’s samples, according to a report by ABC news.

    Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said that he “won't tolerate travellers risking Australian farming.”

    Cost

    It is estimated that a foot and mouth outbreak could cost Australia’s livestock industry up to $60bn.

    "[If] borders close we can't trade live animals, we can't send meat products out of the country except to other countries that have FMD,” biosecurity expert and Melbourne University professor Tom Kompas said.

    The Victoria Farmer’s Federation said that penalties need to be more severe on people who bring in biosecurity hazards.

    Read more

    Farmer Writes: we've lost 1,000 cattle to floods and cold