Weekly podcast: Bord Bia on exports and fodder shortages in the west
Bord Bia reports a record breaking year for 2017, the IFA’s former secretary general Pat Smith, gives an exclusive interview and we look at fodder shortages Co Clare.

Listen to "Bord Bia food exports, Pat Smith and fodder shortages - Podcast Ep 147" on Spreaker.

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Bord Bia's director of markets Padraig Brennan discusses the performance of Irish food exports in 2017 with Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Amy Forde.

Bord Bia held its 2018 meat marketing seminar on Friday, and markets specialist Phelim O’Neill asked Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland how factories see the industry's performance in 2017 and what they expect for the coming year.

Pat Smith was the secretary general of the IFA until he left the organisation amid the pay scandal of November 2015.

He now has his own business supplying renewable energy equipment and he recently became the co-chairman of a new organisation, the Micro Renewable Energy Federation. He told Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Thomas Hubert about his new role.

The Common Agricultural Policy makes up a large proportion of the average EU farmers income. It’s due to undergo some changes at the hands of EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Our correspondent Phelim O’Neil visited a farm facility with Commissioner Hogan in Holland and asked Marc Calon the president of LTO the main Dutch farm organisation farmers in the country would respond to the Commissioners proposed changes.

Listen to "Dutch farmers' view on CAP changes" on Spreaker.

Beef editor Adam Woods attended a farmer meeting in Carndonagh, Co Donegal and asked the Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Agriculture and Donegal native Charlie McConologue for his opinion on the big issues facing farming.

The first Ulster Farmers Union Roadshow has just taken place in Enniskillen and the theme of the event was farming and the environment.

One of the speakers was the Chief Executive of Ulster Wildlife, Jennifer Fulton, who gave our correspondent Peter McCann some background on the organisation and her view on where agriculture in Northern Ireland was going.

Listen to "Ulster Wildlife on UK agriculture post-Brexit" on Spreaker.

Our correspondent Hannah Quinn-Mulligan spoke Irish Country Living’s property specialist Anthony Jordan about what can be expected in the next Land Report.

Listen to "Key land buyers in 2017" on Spreaker.

Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up here: www.farmersjournal.ie/podcast

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Another fall in Global Dairy Trade prices
The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but rise in whole milk powder price.

The latest Global Dairy Trade shows a drop in the price of butter but a rise in the whole milk powder price.

The event for this week concluded with the GDT Price Index down 1.7%

The price of butter dipped 8.1% to €4,237/t, cheddar 3.3% to €3,076.38/t, skim milk powder increased 0.8% to €1,675.92/t and milk powder is up 1.5% to €2,543.40/t.

In addition, rennet casein is down 9.5%, to €3,937/t.

Simplicity at the core of Wicklow Better Farm
Brian Doran farms grassland and tillage in Co Wicklow, with a large crowd attending his farm walk.

A crowd of over 200 people attended the first of two Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef Challenge walks taking place on Brian Doran's farm just outside Carnew in Co Wicklow.

Brian is farming 43ha of grassland and 41ha of tillage. The grassland area is split into two blocks. The 32ha main block is situated around the yard, with the remaining 11ha five miles away.

Simplicity is at the core of Brian’s system, with 50 suckler cows and calves running in one block and a 55 steers and heifers running in another. All progeny are sold as steer and heifer beef.

The walk of Brian's farm includes five main stand focusing on areas and BETTER farm challenges such as herd health, breeding, grassland management, meeting the markets and dealing with the current drought and fodder problems.

The farm is no different to many farms across the country and is feeding both silage and concentrates in an effort to prolong the rotation and save what grass covers are left.

Each of the stands generated a good discussion between the audience and the speakers which included members of the Irish Farmers Journal livestock team, the BETTER farm management team and local Teagasc B&T advisors.

Here are just some of the main quotes from the day:

"Going forward, Brian's farm is capable of producing a gross margin of €1210/ha, a rise of almost €400/ha in five years” – Tommy Cox, Teagasc BETTER farm programme adviser.

“Reducing the calving spread has definitely reduced the labour on the farm. I like the black Limousin cows, lots of milk and easy calved” – Brian Doran, host BETTER farmer.

“Grazing infrastructure, soil fertility, grazing management and reseeding are the most important points of grassland management, in that order” – Hugh Mahon, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“If you are to take only one thing from today, it is that lime is the single most critical factor in soil fertility and in growing more grass” – Bob Sheriff, Teagasc B&T adviser.

“There definitely isn’t enough knowledge around the pricing grid system among farmers” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

“Quality assurance is the bare minimum requirement from all our suooer market customers. It’s an absolute must for us when we are selling our beef.” – Denis Brennan, Slaney Foods

Another walk is scheduled for 5pm this evening on Brian Doran’s farm. On Thursday, the Teagasc/ Irish Farmers Journal BETTER Farm Beef challenge will head west to Nigel O’Kane's farm in Co Galway for another two BETTER Farm beef challenge walks.

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