Stop paying people for what they did 25 years ago – Ming Flanagan
MEP Luke Ming Flanagan has said the EU needs to stop paying farmers based on what they produced 25 years ago.

Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan has said CAP needs to move away from historical payments. The Roscommon native made the comments as part of a discussion on CAP reforms held by the agricultural committee of the European Parliament on Monday.

“I will not be standing by a decision that fleeces one farmer over the other on the basis on what they might have been doing a quarter of a century ago,” he stated.

Flanagan also strongly criticised the European Commission’s proposal to have internal convergence reach 75% by 2026. He said the target should be to achieve 100% equality across all payments per hectare.

Convergence

“Everyone in [the European Parliament] I would have thought were here to represent rural parts of their country, to represent farmers’ interests, and people who live in rural areas. I would have thought the best way to achieve that is we’d get full internal convergence at the very least by the end of 2026.

“In the initial proposal from the Commission, they only want to go 75%. The MEPs are the ones representing the people so you’d imagine they want to change that but there seems to be massive resistance to it.”

Productivity

He said there appeared to be a logic in some countries, including Ireland, that farmers on “big payments” had the highest rates of production and agriculture would collapse without them.

“Many farmers getting over €1,000/ha actually produce less than the average farmer getting €250/ha. The most efficient farmers, the ones who have the best return per euro provided by the EU, are those on the average payment.”

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The farmer's daily wrap: farm fatality, African swine fever and bees
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday 24 May.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that it will be rather cloudy at first on Saturday, with patches of light rain or drizzle, mainly affecting the western half of the country.

Cloud is forecast to start to break later in the morning, with spells of sunshine for the afternoon and evening.

However, Atlantic coastal areas will remain quite dull and damp.

It looks set to be a humid day, with top temperatures ranging from 16°C to 20°C in light to moderate southwesterly breezes.

In the news

  • There is a mixed bag of weather ahead for the weekend, with showers, sunshine and highs of 20°C.
  • Minister warning to holiday-makers over African swine fever: “Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami.”
  • A man in his 60s has died following an accident on a farm in Aughnacliffe, Co Longford.
  • Just 207t of skimmed milk powder (SMP) remains in the EU’s intervention measure.
  • And Irish citizens are being asked to report sightings of bees in a nationwide online survey.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Free trailer marking against theft.
  • The latest from Newford Farm.
    Three-man race for ICSA president
    The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) will elect a new president in June.

    Three candidates are in the running to become the next president of the ICSA following the close of nominations on Friday evening.

    In alphabetical order, these candidates are as follows:

  • Hugh Farrell, Cavan.
  • Dermot Kelleher, Cork west.
  • Edmond Phelan, Waterford.
  • The election will take place in Portlaoise on the evening of Thursday 27 June.

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    Watch: vegetable growers turn on the irrigation systems
    O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming have both turned on the irrigation pumps this week.

    In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.

    Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.

    “We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.

    “The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”

    In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.

    But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.

    “You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.

    "It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”

    Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.

    “We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.

    “There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”

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    Fields drying up as some farmers wait for rain

    Flood risk farmers urged to make submissions

    Crops remain in good condition but have become more variable