We must recognise the Tramlines farmers who share knowledge and information weekly during the season.
The changes and evolution in the sector such as min-till, catch crops, rotation and break crops, alongside more targeted fertiliser applications, modernised the system. Is the 15t/ha target Andy Doyle talks about achievable with lower artificial nitrogen? The alternative is using more of what I’ll call regenerative type actions listed above.
As the EU moves to reduce the use of plant protection tools, we must ask if it is more environmentally efficient to keep these tools which have helped us to achieve current yield levels?
What are the chances that these new systems will meet with the same pest and disease challenges that forced conventional agriculture to act?
Without those past innovations the world would not be able to sustain its current population level.
We have to recognise the need for generational renewal and the increased emphasis on support of young farmers. The missing piece in the jigsaw is still probably an effective retirement scheme for the other half of generational renewal.
Long-term land leasing has filled an income gap for those at that stage in their farming career, who need and want to step back from productive farming. However, one can’t but think if there was a rewarding retirement scheme, would generational renewal and land transfer be that bit more effective, recognising that for young people to get land, the older generation must step back gracefully.
When a 20-year-old tractor is making over €50,000, you have to ask the question, even with the 2022 price increase in farm output, where does this end?
You have to take into account not alone the repayment finance of that tractor, but the running costs as farmers across the country pay out over €2/litre for auto diesel and over €1/litre for green diesel.
Counting the cost
Think of how many lambs, or more specifically, the margin from how many lambs, it now takes to fill the tank of your average tractor.