UK government comes under pressure to support dairy after French backing
The NFU has called on the British government to provide farmers with similar support and financial backing given by its French counterpart to help secure sustainable milk supplies.

The French government coughed up €600 million to help support French farmers who are protesting and blockading French cities, by dumping food and manure on the roadways.

The call comes after Arla Foods became the latest processor to cut its milk price. Arla will reduce the price it pays its UK members by 0.8 ppl (1.13 c/l) to 23.01ppl (31.44 c/l) from 1 September.

Bob Harrison, dairy board chairman of NFU (National Farmers Union) held talks with DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Minister George Eustace to discuss the potential fallout from the current problems.

The NFU man said “we desperately need the government’s help to ensure a fully functioning and fair dairy supply chain.

"Now is time for action, just this week we’ve seen the French government provide a list of support measures and financial backing to help their farmers through this difficult period.”

Arla’s cut follows similar cuts from First Milk, Dairy Crest and Muller UK &Ireland this year.

NFU claimed that dairy farmers across the UK are struggling and the market outlook for the remainder of this year and into 2016 is not positive.

Bob Harrison called on dairy farmers to talk to their banks now before the situation got worse and to open honest communication with milk buyers on future market prospects.

He said “with the outlook bleak for the foreseeable future I’d call on fellow farmers to talk to their banks, feed merchants, suppliers and business consultants now, before things get far worse, and utilise the resources available at Agricultural Horticultural Development Board dairy to help ride out this storm as best we can.”

The NFU is working in coalition with FFA (Farmers For Action), TFA (Tenants Farmers Association) and others to help signpost help for the short term and find agreed solutions for the long term.

Ash Amirahmadi, head of UK milk and member services said “the situation is not helped by high milk production throughout the world, while demand from China and Russia, continues to be low. These global developments are impacting all dairy markets throughout the world.”

Survey: what do you expect from green fertilisers?
Cork academics researching the potential of recycling waste into fertilisers want to hear from farmers on their requirements for these products.

Cork Institute of Technology is running an online survey to collect farmers' views on recycling-derived fertiliser, which includes processed animal manure, urban waste including household food waste, catering waste or green cuttings from recreational areas as well as human waste in the form of sewage sludge.


"Currently, crop production in the EU is heavily dependent on the import of P-containing [phosphoros] mineral fertilisers, while the production of mineral N [nitrogen] fertiliser requires large amounts of energy," the academics said.

"Paradoxically, however, there are several regions with a nutrient surplus in northwestern Europe," the academics said.

Technologies to recover nutrients from waste are available on the market

Their research is part of an EU-funded project looking into the potential of recycled fertilisers across Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany.

Technologies to recover nutrients from waste are available on the market, but researchers said that until now they have remained little-used by farmers.


"It is essential that the end product fulfils farmers’ requirements," said Cork IT lecturer Niamh Power.

"The objective of the survey is to determine the desired properties recycling-derived fertilisers are required to have, to encourage their use over mineral fertilisers.

"This is a great opportunity for the farming community to have their voice heard about what they consider important."

Click here to take the survey, which comprises of 29 questions and takes around 15 minutes to complete.

Read more

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The farmer's daily wrap: inspections, milk price and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for 16 February 2019.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that there will be some mist or drizzle at times on Saturday morning, but most places will be dry during the day.

More general rain is forecast to develop along the west coast by evening.

It will be mild and breezy, with highs of 10°C to 12°C in southerly winds.

In the news

  • In pictures: silage 2019 kicks off in February in Kilkenny.
  • The board of Aurivo met on Friday and increased its January milk price.
  • Farmers are being driven out of business by over-zealous and unaccountable inspectors, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said.
  • Applications for the BEEP scheme, which has a funding provision of €20m, will be accepted up to and including next Friday 22 February.
  • Some 66 projects from across the country will be allocated funding of €62m under the €1bn rural regeneration and development fund.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Nathan Tuffy reports from Balla Mart.
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