The IFA is proposing a five-year survival fund for the tillage sector. The necessity is glaringly obvious and the current weather impact has the potential to further decimate the sector ever before the fund gets off the ground.

Estimates suggest that less than 5% of the spring crops are in the ground. While April could still come good and decent yields are still achievable, the farmer would need almost perfect weather for the rest of the year.

The proposals require a significant provision of State aid from the national Exchequer.

Conclusions from the European Council meeting last week might help this further. One of the key conclusions was, ‘easing the farmers’ financial strain by designing means of additional support, such as for example extending the temporary framework on State aid’.

We’ve had beef, milk and pig sector packages before when those industries were on the floor – the tillage sector has every right to the same.

From Cork to Galway and up to Derry you can see from the Tramlines farmers, page 40, that tillage work is on hold.

Dual wheels are fitted, and ploughs and drills are ready to go when it dries up. Sprays and fertilisers are in yards. The message is clear be ready to go when ground conditions allow.