Weekly podcast: low-cost loans, Brexit threat and farm plastic recycling costs
In this week's podcast, we reveal the start date for low-cost loans, find out why farm plastic recycling fees are going up and discuss a no-deal Brexit in the Republic, Northern Ireland and the UK.

 

Click here to download this week's podcast.

In an exclusive interview, Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed that the long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will be made available in March.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed discussed how Irish agri food exports performed in 2018 with Phelim O'Neill.

Bord Bia launched its annual Export and Performance Review for 2018 on Wednesday morning. Odile Evans talked to the CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy, and IFA President Joe Healy about the figures.

Liam Moloney, general manager of Irish Farm Film Producers Group, tells Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Thomas Hubert why the fees to have silage wrap recycled are going up by €5 per 500kg this year.

Vice chair of the Beef Plan Movement Hugh Doyle talks about future plans for the organisation and explains why he's critical of Bord Bia.

Amy Forde spoke to Sligo IFA chair JP Cowley after a meeting about CAP, ANCs and the issues affecting farmers.

The Renewable Heat Association is continuing to challenge the Department for the Economy over cuts to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs in NI.

Brexit was a key topic of discussion at the first of six roadshows organised by the Ulster Farmers' Union across NI this month.

Senator and farmer Ian Marshall discussed Brexit, the next CAP and environmental challenges with Thomas Hubert this week.

Peter McCann spoke to several speakers and delegates from last week’s Oxford Farming conference in England, including Defra Farming Minister George Eustice and NFU deputy president Guy Smith.

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

Three-man race for ICSA president
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) will elect a new president in June.

Three candidates are in the running to become the next president of the ICSA following the close of nominations on Friday evening.

In alphabetical order, these candidates are as follows:

  • Hugh Farrell, Cavan.
  • Dermot Kelleher, Cork west.
  • Edmond Phelan, Waterford.
  • The election will take place in Portlaoise on the evening of Thursday 27 June.

    Read more

    Family-owned feedlots entitled to compensation – ICSA

    Brexit beef compensation: what farmer groups want

    Watch: vegetable growers turn on the irrigation systems
    O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming have both turned on the irrigation pumps this week.

    In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.

    Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.

    “We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.

    “The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”

    In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.

    But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.

    “You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.

    "It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”

    Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.

    “We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.

    “There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”

    Read more

    Fields drying up as some farmers wait for rain

    Flood risk farmers urged to make submissions

    Crops remain in good condition but have become more variable

    Investigation launched into compromised DkIT agriculture exam
    An examination paper sat by final-year agriculture science students in DkIT was compromised and students have to resit it.

    Final-year agriculture students in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) must resit an examination after a paper was compromised.

    In a statement, head of school of health and science at DkIT Dr Edel Healy said that on 20 May the college became aware that an examination paper sat by final-year students on one programme on 14 May was compromised.

    As a result, all students in the class must now resit the examination on Friday 24 May or at a later date to be decided in August.

    Investigation

    “DkIT has launched an active investigation into the circumstances surrounding this issue,” Dr Healy said.

    “All students affected by this situation have now been contacted and reassured that any repeat exams if required after the August sitting will be scheduled prior to the completion of the autumn exam board process.

    "This will ensure that all successful students may be conferred in November as planned.”

    Stress

    The college recognised the additional stress and inconvenience to students and extended study hours have been provided at the library.

    “The protection of academic integrity and assessment is of the utmost importance at DkIT and the institute follows best practice to ensure security of its examinations process.

    "As part of the current investigation, an extensive review of our examination processes and procedures will be carried out,” said Dr Healy.

    “I would like the thank our students for their continued understanding and co-operation during this process.”