NEW Irish Dairy Farmer Magazine out now
The new Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is out now. Get your copy from all good newsagents in Ireland, or order it online

Irish Dairy Farmer magazine: The Labour Issue - ORDER IT ONLINE HERE

Labour is a huge issue facing Irish farming. The dairy industry is growing by around 8% per year - the shackles of the milk quota era are well and truly off. However, new constraints are emerging. Farmers are finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit people to work on and manage dairy farms.

Structures are in place to educate and train more young people in the skills of farming, but is farming an attractive career choice for young people?

This issue of the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine tackles the labour issue head on. We deal with it from the farmers’ side – profiling over 40 ways dairy farmers can reduce their labour requirements, while detailing 12 ways in which dairy farmers can improve their people management skills and make farms more attractive places for people to work.

In our ever popular farmer focus section, we profile farmers who are excellent at managing people and who at the same time, are running thriving dairy farm businesses. Labour is an issue facing farmers of all sizes – we profile farmers milking from 80 up to 4,500 cows.

Here’s a preview of what’s inside the Irish Dairy Farmer magazine:

Old Head on Young Shoulders: When David O’Sullivan told his parents not to sell the in-calf heifers as he was going to return from New Zealand after nine months, the whole dynamic of the O’Sullivan family’s farming business was to change.

American Cream: Aidan Brennan visits Rodney and Dorothy Elliott at their farm in the US - Drumgoon Dairies, to speak about their transition from dairy farming in Co. Fermanagh to buying a farm and establishing a super dairy in South Dakota.

Max Power: We meet the team behind a 900-cow farm at Moore Hill Farms, Tallow, Co Waterford.

Team Players: We see how two neighbours have joined forces and are now farming in partnership in Co Galway.

The Fabric of Change: This Coleraine farm, once a linen-production site, is a bit different to most farms in Northern Ireland. With a focus on block calving, the herd compromises a combination of British Friesian and New Zealand Friesian genetics.

Brave Hearts: We speak to the Young family who relocated from the Cowal Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands to Little Buds Farm in Co Westmeath.

WHERE TO BUY:

The Irish Dairy Farmer magazine is available in 3,000 newsagents across Ireland or you can ORDER IT ONLINE HERE.

You can also purhcase the DIGITAL VERSION HERE

High farmer expectations for divided US Congress
Newly elected US representatives and senators will need cross-party agreement to pass crucial agriculture policy and trade legislation.

The Democratic Party won a majority in the US House of Representatives while President Donald Trump's Republican Party retained control of the Senate in the mid-term elections held on Tuesday.

One of the first items on the agenda of the newly elected representatives and senators will be the Farm Bill, which sets rules and funding for American farmers in the same way as the CAP in Europe.

The previous Farm Bill expired on 30 September and proposed legislation to replace it has been bogged down in Congress, with the House and Senate passing different versions earlier this year. Democrats have opposed Republican cuts to the distribution of food stamps to people on social welfare, a nutrition programme providing for large-scale purchases from the agri-food industry.

The US government has provided emergency funding to plug the gap since October, but has also begun to wind down some farm schemes.

Trade deal

The US Congress must also approve the trade deal concluded by President Trump's administration with Mexico and Canada before it comes into effect. Farmers have been anxious for new export options after the trade war initiated by President Trump with China escalated tariffs for a range of US agri-food commodities.

Exclusive China deal for Origin Green milk
An agreement signed with manufacturer Wyeth links quality-assured Irish milk to a leading infant formula brand in China.

Bord Bia and Wyeth China signed a memorandum of understanding to guarantee Origin Green certification for all milk used in the company's Illuma infant formula products in China.

"The memorandum of understanding with Wyeth is a commitment by the company to source all of its dairy ingredients for its Illuma base brand exclusively from milk from Irish farms participating in Bord Bia's Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme under the Origin Green programme," Bord Bia announced this Tuesday.

Exports

According to the agency, Wyeth accounted for more than half of Ireland's €666.4m dairy exports to China last year. The company, which is part of the Nestlé group, operates the infant formula manufacturing plant in Askeaton, Co Limerick.

The agreement to source exclusively quality-assured Irish milk is worth €110m to the Irish dairy industry, Bord Bia estimated.

Promotion

Wyeth and Bord Bia have also agreed to share market data on China and promote Ireland as a sustainable food producer in the country.

“This agreement is very good news for the Irish dairy industry and a vote of confidence in the Irish food sector by one of its strategic partners committed to working with us on sharing insights on Chinese consumers and building awareness of Ireland's premium food offering in the market," said Bord Bia's chief executive Tara McCarthy.

The signing ceremony took place at the Chinese Import and Export Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, where Bord Bia expects more deals to be concluded this week.

Wyeth Nutritionals reported strong growth underpinned by the Chinese infant formula market last year.

Read more

Minister Doyle promotes Irish trade in China

China to ‘rewrite the rules’ of agri food trade

Scaling the Great Wall of China

How important is infant formula to Irish dairy farmers?

France bans metam-sodium sprays
The French authorities have banned a plant protection product ingredient approved at EU level and in Ireland over health fears.

France's food safety agency, ANSES, has banned sprays containing metam-sodium, a chemical used to sterilise soils and fight parasites in horticulture.

The EU's pesticides register shows metam-sodium was authorised in 2012.

However, the French agency has moved to ban the chemical, stating:"Following the approval of this active ingredient at EU level, ANSES re-examined all licenses for products containing meta-sodium in France. ANSES has concluded that all its uses represent a risk for human health and the environment."

Metam-sodium falls in the EU classification of products which can cause severe skin burns and eye damage. It is also toxic to aquatic life, harmful if swallowed and may cause an allergic skin reaction.

The Irish plant protection products register includes one approved metam-sodium-based product, Fumetham, made by Spanish-based manufacturer Lainco.

No alternative

Christiane Lambert, president of the French farmers' union FNSEA, disagreed with the move. "The decision to ban metam-sodium was taken before an alternative was found to replace it, leaving farmers without solutions," she said.

The announcement came after France's new minister for agriculture, Didier Guillaume, confirmed his government's plan to ban glyphosate by 2020. The active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides is authorised at EU level until the end of 2022.

A scientific study of 70,000 French adults over seven years has made headlines in the country in recent weeks after it showed that "a significant reduction in the risk of cancer was observed among high consumers of organic food". The authors formed the hypothesis that reduced exposure to pesticide residues may have caused this result, but acknowledged that further research would be required to verify this.

France, the EU's largest agricultural producer, is influential in discussions to authorise farm chemicals at European level.

Read more

New French minister pledges glyphosate ban

French MPs vote down glyphosate ban