‘Once in a generation’ – Farmers Journal subeditor makes ancient discovery
Anthony Murphy is a subeditor with the Irish Farmers Journal and on Tuesday he made a major new discovery in the Boyne Valley.

Anthony Murphy was “gobsmacked” on Tuesday night when he discovered a never-seen-before henge monument in the Boyne Valley, not far from Newgrange.

Murphy is a subeditor with the Irish Farmers Journal and his discovery in a tillage field in Meath is being described by archaeologists as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Murphy said that he and Ken Williams of Shadows and Stone weren't out with the drone by accident.

“There were headlines in the UK about the possibility of sites being discovered given the drought. What happens is the moisture left in the soil lodges into the archaeological features – which makes the crop greener as it has more moisture than the soil around it."

These headlines, and the advice of an archaeologist, prompted him to fly his drone over the landscape to see if anything might show up.

“The main discovery is a giant henge about 200m in diameter that is unrecorded and has never been seen before. The image is just stunning. There are three sites in total in the field and a number of possible additional archaeological features too.

“When I saw it first I was like ‘what’s that? What the hell is that?’ It’s something I had never seen before. It is huge.”

What happens next?

Murphy has spoken with archaeologists about the discovery and they have told him it’s a once-in-a-generation discovery. Stephen Davis of the UCD archaeology faculty said that it is the most exciting aerial image of Irish archaeology he has ever seen.

The field belongs to a farmer who has a mixed operation of beef, sheep and tillage.

Archaeologists are poring over the images and Murphy has reported the find to the National Monuments Service, who are equally excited with the "new" site.

“There is a huge array of stuff in this small area of Ireland around Newgrange. This is just incredible. I’m still pinching myself.

“It’s the most exciting day for me in terms of monuments. I've been writing about and photographing monuments for 20 years. I would have said all that there was to find had already been revealed by archaeologists. I’m gobsmacked.”

Tractor run and BBQ raises €12,000 for charity
The FCI has raised a substantial sum of money for six charities from their annual tractor run and BBQ.

Up to €12,000 was raised by the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI) through its annual charity BBQ and auction held on 15 July in Co Meath.

Contractor brothers Patrick, Peter and Michael Farrelly hosted the event, which also included the Mickey Farrelly Tractor Run in memory of their late father.

To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000

The event saw a strong attendance and was supported by a large number of food suppliers.

“We are indebted to all of the generous food suppliers who supported us in staging the 2018 FCI charity BBQ. We also thank the contributions from the huge attendance, which have provided us with the opportunity to support so many worthwhile charities," said FCI general secretary Peter Farrelly.

“To date, the FCI annual charity BBQ and auctions have raised over €115,000 for many local and national charities,” he said.

The six charities that received money included:

  • Meath Palliative Care (€3,500)
  • Save our Sons & Daughters (SOSAD) (€2,000)
  • Support Organisation for Trisomy (SOFT) (€2,000)
  • Order of Malta, Kells (€1,000)
  • Order of Malta, Swords (€1,500)
  • Carnaross Community First Responders (€2,000)
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    TB compensation – concern over ‘subtle pressure’ on valuers
    The ICSA has stated that higher rates should be paid for higher-calibre cattle.

    Valuers who determine TB compensation rates should be given free rein to do their jobs without interruption from the Department of Agriculture, according to the ICSA.

    “When it comes to breeding stock, or animals with show potential, there has to be flexibility in the system to allow valuers to give an honest and true assessment of what an animal is worth.

    "In these cases, average price ranges from thousands of animals sold in marts each week is meaningless,” ICSA animal health and welfare chair Hugh Farrell said.

    Too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers

    Currently, a ceiling of €3,000 is applied for payments in respect of any individual bovine reactor animals.

    Exceptions are made for a €4,000 payment for one stock bull per breakdown or €5,000 for one pedigree stock bull.

    “[The] ICSA is concerned that too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers to avoid giving the real value of a high-calibre cow or heifer.

    While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department

    “As it stands, the odds are stacked against a farmer who has TB reactors. While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department.

    “Unless there is a strong body of evidence that a valuer is continuously getting it wrong, the Department should accept that, at times, there will be stock that are much more valuable than any paper exercise in average values.”

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    New beef plan to be launched
    An 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry is to be launched on Monday night.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands a launch meeting will take place tonight in Co Meath of a newly formed group of beef farmers who have come together because of deep concerns over where the beef industry is going and the lack of profit for the primary producer.

    The Irish Farmers Journal has seen the launch document, which includes an 86-point plan to try to turn around the current issues within the beef industry.

    Number of phases

    The plan outlines a number of phases, which include several references to producer groups and outlines an aim to have “50% of the country’s beef cattle sold through producer groups in the next three years”.

    Under phase one, the group proposes to hand in a number of demands to factories and give them time to respond.

    If the response isn’t adequate, the group proposes “not to send any cattle to a factory under a set price” and “not to send cattle to a particular factory at short notice”.

    Bonus

    The group has also proposed a suckler-bred bonus to reflect the higher costs of suckler beef production.

    The Irish Farmers Journal understands that over 1,000 farmers have engaged with the group so far and the target for the group is to grow participant numbers very fast to add further strength to its calls to action.

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