Weekly podcast: ANC appeals, self-cooling cow mats and Kevin McManamon
In this week's podcast, we hear from farmers unhappy with the new ANC map, visit Scotland and Denmark, trial sexed semen and get mental health advice from Dublin footballer Kevin McManamon.


Click here to download this week's podcast.

New correspondent Thomas Hubert meets Henry McLoughlin, one of many farmers who say their land on the Laois/Kildare border should have been included in the new ANC map.

Beef editor Adam Woods attended Agriscot in Edinburgh and he spoke to George Caldow, vet with the Scottish Agricultural College and Johne's expert about the disease and the Scottish programme to help improve Johne's status in Scottish beef and dairy herds.

Dairy editor Jack Kennedy speaks to Teagasc researcher Dr Stephen Butler about the latest sexed semen trials at the Teagasc national dairy conference.

Reporting from the massive Agromek show in Denmark, news correspondent Hannah Quinn-Mulligan meets three participants offering innovations to farmers:

  • Klaus Nielsen works for Stald, which makes self-heating and cooling water mattresses for cattle.
  • Vet Poul Baekbo explains that Danish vets have been banned from selling antibiotics to farmers for nearly 25 years.
  • Erik Fog, senior organic adviser with SEGES, discusses the use of clover as a protein crops.
  • Buildings reporter William Conlon sat down with Jamie Robertson of Livestock Management Systems in Aberdeen, Scotland to talk through the main issues he sees with Irish shed design

    Adam Woods speaks to Dublin footballer Kevin McManamon about his talk on mental health to 400 farmers in Granard Mart on Tuesday night.

    Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up here!

    Minister was ‘slack’ on calf exports
    The IFA president has questioned whether the Minister fully understood the importance of calf exports this spring.

    IFA president Joe Healy has accused the Minister for Agriculture of “poor form” and a “slack” response on the issue of calf exports.

    Speaking at a north Tipperary IFA meeting in Nenagh on 25 March, he said that exports were the only competition factories had but that they insisted that exports were not being maximised the way they should be.

    The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut

    “We met the Minister last October to make sure that things would be in place for ferries this spring,” Healy said.

    “The Minister told us that ferries would be sailing on alternate days but it turned out that the Minister was giving us wrong information.

    “You would hope the Minister would know something as serious as that but it turns out he didn’t.

    “It was poor form and slack. The Minister’s pay packet won’t be cut but the farmer’s will,” Healy said.

    Extra lairage

    Healy said that the IFA had identified lairage space for up to 8,000 calves in Abbeville which was three and half hours from Cherbourg.

    “Up to last year, calves that were landing in Cherbourg were going up to Abbeville,” Healy said.

    “Some animal welfare crowd followed them and he [Minister Creed] signed a form to say that they wouldn’t use Abbeville.”

    “We saw three lairages but not one calf in any of them and facilities for around 8,000.”

    Under current regulations calves must be rested for 12 hours on arrival at Cherbourg.

    ANC Tipperary

    The issue of Area of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments was also raised and the IFA treasurer Tim Cullinan told farmers that 67 townlands in north Tipperary had been taken out of the ANC.

    He said that the north Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh has arranged a meeting with local politicians on the issue and they hoped to get Tipperary townlands back into ANC.

    The farmer's daily wrap: beef prices, Closamectin and Glanbia pay
    Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Tuesday.

    Weather forecast

    This Tuesday is set to remain dry, according to Met Éireann, with good sunny spells and top temperatures of 11°C to 14°C. It will become cold at night though with frost forecast.

    In the news

  • Some types of cattle are holding their ground and others are under price pressure at factories.
  • The attention in Brussels is focusing on preparing for a no-deal Brexit.
  • The withdrawal period for Closamectin pour-on has doubled to 58 days.
  • Six Glanbia senior executives are in line for a €6.8m shares bonanza.
  • US armed forces have been airlifting fodder to cattle stranded by flooding in Nebraska.
  • Coming up this Tuesday

  • Land report: we continue our tour of prices around the country.
  • The latest from BETTER Farm programme participants.
  • Journal Vet Tommy Heffernan has advice on measuring colostrum and saving lambs with heat.
    Fianna Fáil calls for beef price transparency and immediate Brexit aid
    The opposition has tabled a far-reaching motion on suckler and beef farming to be debated on Wednesday.

    A motion introduced by Fianna Fáil TDs calls for increased transparency in beef pricing, including a beef market price index and a Government commitment to "examine the feasibility with stakeholders of requiring processors to report wholesale prices on a regular basis".

    The motion seen by the Irish Farmers Journal also urges more robust measures around carcase trim and grading, including publishing details of on-the-spot fines for factories breaching EU carcase trimming rules.

    All animals from a quality-assured farm should receive some level of bonus payment and the QPS grid should be reviewed, the text adds.

    Brexit threat

    As "Brexit poses one of the biggest ever threats to the beef sector for suckler farmers," Fianna Fáil cites the Irish Farmers Journal estimate of a potential drop in price to €2.50/kg in a no-deal scenario.

    The Government should "immediately request Brexit mitigation funding for farmers" under existing EU rules on market disturbance, the opposition TDs argue.

    The motion is highly critical of the Government, blaming it for "insufficient urgency" in tackling lairage capacity issues in France for calf exports and slamming An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's recent comments about his own meat consumption.

    Producer organisations

    With no producer organisations yet registered in the beef sector, Fianna Fáil wants to see increased incentives to set them up and a consultation with stakeholders to understand the barriers to their establishment.

    The motion also rejects any increased beef access in a potential Mercosur trade deal and renews calls for a €200/cow suckler premium voted in a previous motion last year.

    The Dáil will debate the non-binding motion on Wednesday and vote on it on Thursday.

    Read more

    Strong cross-party support for motion on fodder

    Committee calls for submissions on future of beef

    'Fianna Fáil offer populist criticisms with no solutions' – Deering