New proposal may keep wind turbines 700m away from homes
It is believed Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly wants to increase the set-back between wind turbines and homes.

Minister Kelly is proposing a set-back of 700m, a significant increase on the 500m restriction which currently exists.

He is due to publish new planning guidelines on wind farms shortly, RTÉ's This Week programme revealed. This comes after a consultation process which received more than 7,000 submissions. A number of concerns were also raised by TDs and senators.

The proposal also includes a "height to distance matrix". This means the higher the turbine is, the greater the distance it must be from a residential dwelling.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Labour TD for Longford/Westmeath Willie Penrose said the proposal will be discussed this week. He is a vocal critic of wind turbines across the country.

"I oppose the position of wind farms across the rural landscape," he said. "The whole thing is an economic catastrophe and I think companies have little regard for rural communities. The economic contribution of wind farms is overblown, in my opinion.

"This isn't on the agenda in the new proposal, but I also hope to see a curtailment on the height of turbines."

Last week An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for Coillte’s 48 Turbine Cluddaun Wind Farm in Moygownagh, Co Mayo.

Over 400 farmers travel to fourth tyre recycling centre
The fourth tyre recycling centre was at Gortdrum Mines in Monard, Co Tipperary, on Saturday.

A total of 850 tonnes of tyres were collected from 400 farmers in Tipperary on Saturday. The average volume collected at each of the four bring centres now stands at 1,000t.

While this is the final planned disposal day with the Irish Farm Films Producers Group (IFFPG), farmers have called for further "bring centres".

The IFA is calling for a national scheme to be rolled out so that there is one recycling point opened in each county.

IFA environment chair Thomas Cooney said the association has sought a meeting with Minister for State at the Department of Environment Seán Canney.

“We look forward to working with him and his officials to build on the good work so far and ensure we all play our part in keeping the countryside clean,” Cooney said.

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Equivalent of 350,000 car tyres collected from bring centres

Irish farms among the most valuable in the EU
A combination of high land prices and low debt makes the net value of Irish farms among the highest in Europe.

The average Irish farm has a net value of just under €1m, the fourth highest among the 28 EU member states, a comparison of 2015 farm accounting data by the European Commission has found.

UK farms are the most valuable, with a net worth of €1.8m on average, followed by the Netherlands at €1.6m and farms in Denmark at just over €1m.

By contrast, the average Romanian farm is worth just €33,700, the lowest net worth in the EU.

Irish farms hold on average €1m worth of assets, higher than the EU average of €338,600, but only in sixth position in the EU league. Nearly 90% of those assets are land, with only UK farms locking more of their value into farmland.

Meanwhile Irish farms have very low debt levels, far smaller than the EU average of €54,500. Recent CSO figures show that most farms don't have any debt, and the 35% who do owe an average of €60,000 only. Moreover, Irish farmers have secured long-term loans in much larger proportions than their counterparts in most other EU countries, who are more exposed to the need of constantly refinancing short-term loans.

High solvency

As a result, Irish farms have the lowest liabilities-to-assets ratio, under 3%, described by the Commission as a sign of high solvency. "In the case of Ireland, the low liabilities-to-assets ratio mainly reflects relatively high asset values when compared to low liabilities," analysts wrote.

The high value of Irish farms is not reflected in their income ranking. The average Irish farm's net income was higher than the EU average but ranked in 11th position only, far behind the Dutch leaders.

Irish farmers were also the third most reliant on direct payments for their income, with only Greek and Finnish farmers receiving a larger proportion of their income from the BPS system.

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2018 farm incomes to sink to eight-year low

Comer brothers close in on sale of GAA land
The 103 acres that was bought by the GAA for €2.8m during the boom is nearing a sale for a reported €750,000 or €7,300/ac.

The sale of 103 acres at Mountain South is imminent and at the final stages, the Irish Farmers Journal understands. The land, which was bought by the GAA in the mid-2000's for a reported €2.8m, was guided for €750,000 or €7,300/ac when it re-entered the market in April.

It is believed that it has been almost bought for around the guide of €750,000. Local reports have linked the Comer brothers with the sale. It has been suggested that businessmen are going to turn the farm into a €20m centre of excellence for soccer.

The holding was withdrawn from auction in April and was offered by private treaty since. Handling the sale is Cathal Moran of Cathal Moran and Co Auctioneers, Athenry. He is joint agents with GVA Donal O Buachalla.