The concern among tillage farmers was evident in the attendance and questions from the floor at the Teagasc tillage conference in Kilkenny on Wednesday.

Think about it – tillage farmers have faced a wet harvest, wet autumn and now a wet winter, which have led to a decrease in the area of winter crops planted for the second year in a row. Teagasc estimates only 62% of winter crops have been planted).

Last week, Tillage Industry Ireland (TII) called for flexibility around crop diversification requirements and clarification on how bare patches will be dealt with during inspections.

The organisation said there is a real risk farmers will fail to meet conditionality requirements and lose payments due to weather.

Common sense on the three-crop rule given the weather and the seed shortage must be paramount among those in regulatory positions this year. Interesting to see the first Irish carbon figures. Personally what is even more interesting is to see the sequestration carbon number if straw is incorporated and importantly, the difference depending on soil type.

The data just goes to show the scale of the challenge ahead for Irish scientists to catch up with EU policy. Accurate data should allow Bord Bia, Teagasc and the ICBF to improve their AgNav calculator to take an accurate account of the footprint of grain used for animal feed.