We had some great news on the TB front last week, with a clear test on our first 60-day test.

Hopefully we can get the same result in another 60 days and get the green light to trade stock again before we get too far into the winter.

We have some in-calf heifers to sell, but with the trade weakening slightly after the derogation announcement, we might move a few cull cows sooner instead and carry the heifers through to the spring.

We were caught with more stock than usual on hand at this time of year, with plans to sell some calves after the main herd test also getting shelved, but hopefully we will have more options in a couple of months to release a few pressure valves.

Between the testing and a family wedding, we had a very busybut enjoyable week, with little time to think about the Ploughing or make any plans for travelling to Ratheniska, but we might get there for one day at least this year.

It’s becoming more of a day out for the kids than farmers every year, but there’s a few bits of work to do and a few people to meet, so one day will probably be both necessary and enough.

There seems to be less farm businesses putting up stands every year, but it’s still the biggest show in town.

The rain has arrived on time for the event again so it will be a day for four-wheel drives and wet weather gear at best, but ideally the weather won’t disrupt things too much over the three days.

The forecast for Wednesday in particular looks rough, but maybe they can work miracles again up there and keep the gates open.

There will be a lot of anger around the Department of Agriculture tent, especially after the announcement around the reduced limit for the nitrates derogation and the delay in all payments this year.

The basis that our derogation limit will be reduced if water quality tests don’t improve presumes that all water quality issues come from

The minister needs to get a very clear message, on nitrates in particular, that he needs to work a lot harder for us out in Europe.

The basis that our derogation limit will be reduced if water quality tests don’t improve presumes that all water quality issues come from agriculture, and that all issues can be sorted out in a short timeframe.

While we should certainly take responsibility for our impact on water quality, and we still need to improve in some areas, we can’t be expected to take responsibility for all the other sectors that also impact on quality tests.

In particular, the municipal waste sites around the country that seem to regularly have to discharge untreated sewage into our rivers and estuaries with impunity.

The agricultural sector has quickly become the whipping boy for all environmental issues in this country, with no credit given for carbon sequestration, the highest water quality in Europe, the greatest density of hedgerows and the most environmentally friendly system of grass-based food production.


Hopefully, the Department of Agriculture gets a good feeling of the frustration farmers are feeling on the ground around the country and it would be no harm if a few other tents had a visit from an angry farmer or two over the three days of the Ploughing.

We need to show that we have enough of being treated as an easy target, and often the only target, on environmental issues.