The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is seeking a rescue package for tillage farmers which matches the scale of the disaster faced by farmers.
ICSA tillage chair Gavin Carberry said that the announcement of a payment of €11/ac was not a serious response in a year where crops were left in the ground and are still there.
“Many other farmers managed to get crops out, but with serious hardship and impact on the quality of grain and straw," said Carberry.
“I am very concerned at the impact on farmers who are looking at their whole year’s work gone for nothing.
"A rescue package needs to respect the scale of the disaster and that’s why [the] ICSA is proposing a set of payments worth up to €250/ha, to a maximum €10,000 per farmer.
"This is a balanced proposal that mirrors the level of previous packages paid to other sectors and will not be unreasonable to the public purse,” he said.
The ICSA is proposing that the farmers who haven’t been able to harvest their crops should be paid €250/ha up to a maximum of 40ha to leave unharvested crops as wild bird cover until the middle of March.
It is also proposing that farmers who struggled to harvest spring crops should be paid €200/ha up to a maximum of 50ha and winter cereal growers should be eligible for €150/ha, again to a maximum of 50ha.
The organisation said that all farmers struggled in 2023 with harvesting - poor conditions have increased diesel and contracting costs and the quality is well down.
“The impact is also being felt in terms of the serious lack of quality straw which is going to have deep ramifications for animal welfare at calving time,” he warned.
“It is also hugely problematic in terms of our strategy to grow the organic sector given the need for farmyard manure rather than slurry.
“The Government has a stated strategy of increasing our tillage area for climate reasons and to reduce dependence on imported produce. If the Government is serious about this, then they must match this ambition with action not just empty words,” he said.