Farming - March 2021

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Edition (e.g Autumn 2020) | The Southern Star | Magazine Title

SPRING 2021

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Welcome to the latest edition of West Cork Farming magazine IT goes without saying that farming (and its connected agri-industries) is one of the key, vital drivers of both our local economy and of local life in West Cork and its surrounding areas. For generations, local families, friends, communities and businesses have worked the land and sea in these parts to produce, harvest, cultivate and add value to the process of creating food and ingredients for sale and consumption locally, nationally and internationally. And from a Southern Star perspective, it's the fascinating, colourful, stories of the people and personalities involved in this challenging industry that we want to contin-

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life whether it is connected to development, investment, innovation or local human interest/people by emailing editor@southernstar.ie or calling 028 21200. Thank you to all our advertisers who help support the production of this magazine and I would encourage our readers to try and support the businesses that you'll find throughout the publication whenever possible. As Spring takes hold and there is some cautious optimism and light at the end of the ‘pandemic tunnel’ we wish everyone involved in the West Cork farming and marine industries a safe and successful 2021.

ue to celebrate and tell to a wider audience. Our role as your local newspaper is to help keep communities across our region connected, informed and entertained as well as ensuring there is a record of local life for the future too. That's why we love organising initiatives like the annual West Cork Farming Awards and publishing the Farming pages in our newspaper each week and on our website, www.southernstar.ie (which now attracts thousands of visitors every month). However, we're always looking to continue improving our coverage so please do get in touch to tell us about any aspect of West Cork farming, agricultural or marine

Our West Cork farming coverage in The Southern Star also provides a useful platform for advertisers – to whom we are, as always, very grateful – and enquiries may be made through advertising@southernstar.ie or by phoning Anne Kelleher, Eibhlin Crowley or Brian McCarthy on 028-21200.

Front cover image: Rick Gleasure ploughing in the early morning over Oysterhaven Bay, near Kinsale. Taken by Peter O’Brien from Carrigaline.

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

A farm-level solution to a global problem?

Exciting things are happening at Farm Zero C, Carbery’s programme to develop a carbon neutral dairy farm. With a TV show potentially in the offing, there are also plans to scale up trials at the Bandon farm pending funding applications. Emma Connolly finds out more ... ONE third of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions currently come from the agriculture sector so there is an urgent need to reduce emissions produced by farming, while not impacting production or profitability, to ensure a secure future for Irish farming and agriculture globally. Carbery, in partnership with BiOrbic, (the national bioeconomy research centre), are spearheading a project to investigate the feasibility of creating a climate neutral dairy farm. The project – called Farm Zero C – brings together a group of academic and industry experts in a world-first attempt to come up with a farm-level solution for a global problem. The interdisciplinary programme of work is targeting soil and grassland; animal diet and breeding; biodiversity; life cycle analysis; and renewable energy. It is also considering business models and planning to ensure all proposed interventions are commercially viable. In addition, the project is looking at the potential for carbon trading to be integrated within a low emission farm model.

Enda Buckley, who is spearheading Carbery’s efforts on the project, said: ‘One of the first things we did, in May 2020, was to plant multi species swards to gather evidence that grassland and better soil management can help absorb carbon. Other activities that

Shinagh Farm, owned by the four West Cork Co-ops, is the site of the project. The farm is an intensive, highly stocked commercial farm which will allow the project team to prove that a new sustainable business model for farming is possible: if it can

‘There have been several film crews who have travelled to Shinagh to document the project, including one which will hopefully become a TV show, and other interesting projects in the works’

have happened in Shinagh throughout 2020 included extensive habitat mapping of the farm (to measure biodiversity levels and set targets) and soil carbon levels have been measured throughout the farm.

be done at Shinagh, it can be widely applied anywhere. The changes will be implemented on the farm and evaluated and compared with benchmark data to evaluate the impact each step can make in reducing emissions. 4

‘We have also carried out Life Cycle Assessment, which maps and quantifies the total inputs and outputs of the farm in terms of emissions. There have also been feed trials conducted to evaluate impacts on methane emissions. Depending on available funding, we would also hope to trial other technologies.’ The project has already secured €200,000 seed funding from the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Zero Emissions Challenge which seeks to support disruptive solutions that accelerate progress towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland by 2050 and the team are now competing for additional funding of up to €3m. Final project submission have been made for that competition and the results should be known by April. In addition to seeking support under the SFI challenge, the project team have also just completed an application for funding under the EU’s Farm2Fork strategy, which is at the heart of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming environmentally-friendly. This application is an even more ambitious undertaking which involved Carbery leading a consortium of 21 partners across nine EU member states. The outcome of this funding application should be known by June of 2021. If successful, it would allow the project to be scaled up quite significantly, with additional supports for integrating new technology and science approaches, as well as concurrent trials for climate neutral approaches on beef and tillage farms across Europe. This application maintains Farm Zero C as a farmer co-operative led project, with three dairy farmer co-operatives involving over 7,000 farmers, with strong links to beef, processing over 3.3 billion litres of milk and reaching 20 million domestic customers annually and 160 countries worldwide. The project has continued to attract attention and interest form a range of partners. As well as interest from Carbery farmers and customers. There have been several film crews who have travelled to Shinagh to document the project, including one which will hopefully become a TV show, and other interesting projects in the works. Enda explains: ‘We’ve been blown away by the interest and enthusiasm in Farm Zero C – from dairy farmers, to all the scientists we’ve approached, and now wide interest from overseas partners. ‘I’m excited to be part of a project that is

showing that net zero emissions farming can help to make agriculture more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.’ Farm Zero C is a collaboration between the following industry and academic institutions: Carbery, BiOrbic, UCD, Teagasc, MTU, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Carbon Harvesters & Grassa.

Some of the multi-species crops planted at Shinagh. Right: TV crew filming at the farm last January.

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th SALE THURSDAY 25 MAR at 12noon  DAIRY  DAIRY SALE THURSDAY 25 MAR at 12noon th th 8 Apr PEDIGREE BULL SALE Thurs PREMIER PREMIER PEDIGREE BULL SALE Thurs 8 Apr 22 FR. & 23 A.A. on offer 22 FR. & 23 A.A. on offer th PREMIER PEDIGREE BULL SALE Thursth15 Apr

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Eco Trans 40K S/H STOCK T7.210 50K T7.210 + 210 Front 50K Links + Eco FrontTrans Links at keenest at prices keenest prices keenest prices keenest prices keenest prices keenest prices T6.165 T6.165 Terraglide 40K T7.165 40KPH + 4 Spools T6.16540K 40K T6.165 Terraglide 40KTerraglide Terraglide 2016 T7.235 50K + Links 2016 T7.235 50K + Links T7. 210 40K T7. Eco 210 Trans 40K Eco Trans S/H STOCK 2015 T7.200 50K + Air Brakes 2015 AirBrakes Brakes Digger,Full Control of New Holland of New New parts Holland stock partsininstock stock range Full New range Holland of parts Holland stock parts stock T6.145 T6.145 +B110C 40K FullPilot range of Full range Holland Holland ininstock T6.14540K 40K T6.145 +Loader Loader 40K++Loader Loader 2016T7.200 T7.210 50K 50K ++Air T6.145 40K T6.145 + Loader 40K + Loader 2015 T7.20040K 50K+Eco + Air Brakes 2015 T7.200 50K +Eco Air Brakes T5.95 40K T5.95 Powershuttle 40K Powershuttle T5.95 40K T5.95 Powershuttle 40K Powershuttle 2015 T7.200 40K Trans 2015 Trans 2016T7.200 T7.210 50K Air Brakes T5.95 40KT5.95 Powershuttle 40K Powershuttle + Loader + Loader 2016T7.200 T5.115 Powershuttle + S/H AirCon 2015 T7.200Cab 40KEco Eco Trans 2015 40K Trans S/H S/HSTOCK STOCK S/HSTOCK STOCK 2013 T6.155 Cab Suspension 2013 T6.155 Suspension 2016 T5.115 Powershuttle + AirCon T6.160 40 KPH + Loader 2016 T7.235 2016 50K T7.235 + Links 50K++Links Links 2016 T7.235 2016 50K T7.235 + Links 50K 2015T6.155 T7.185 50K +Suspension AirLoader BrakesS/H STOCK 2013 T6.155 Cab Suspension S/H STOCK 2013 Cab 2013 Case 105 + RB150 Round Baler 2013 Case 105 UU++ Loader 2015 T7.200 2015 50K T7.200 Air 50K Brakes Air Brakes 2015 T7.200 2015 50K T7.200 ++ Air 50K Brakes ++ Air Brakes 2015 T7.185 50K Air Brakes 2016 T7.210 2016 50K T7.210 + Air 50K Brakes + Air Brakes 2013 Case 105 U +Loader Loader 2013 Deutz K430 ++CAB Loader T6.160 Front Susp 2013 Case 105 U& 2015T7.200 T7.200 2015 40K T7.200 Eco40K Trans 40KEco EcoTrans Trans 2015 2015 40K T7.200 Eco Trans 2012 T-6020 Q40 Loader 2012 T-6020 ++Q40 Loader 2016 T5.115 2016 Powershuttle T5.115 Powershuttle + AirCon + AirCon 320P 10ft Mounted Mower 2013T6.155 T6.155 2013 Cab T6.155 Suspension CabSuspension Suspension 2013T-6020 Deutz K430 + Loader 2013 2013 Cab T6.155 Suspension Cab 2012 T-6020 +40K Q40 Loader 2012 +40K Q40 Loader 2010 T6080 Eco Trans 2015 T7.185 2015 50K T7.185 AirLoader 50K Brakes + AirLoader Brakes 2013 105U +Eco Loader 2010 T-CASE 6080 Trans 2013 Case 2013 105 Case U+++ 105 T6.145 16 x 16 + Creeper 2013 Case 2013 105 Case U 105 Loader UU++Loader SPECIAL SPRING OFFERS SPRING OFFERS 2010 T-6080 6080 40K EcoTrans Trans SPECIAL OFFERS 2013T-6020 Deutz 2013 K430 Deutz + Loader K430 + Loader 2013T-CASE 105U +Eco Loader 2012 T-6020 2012 +SPECIAL T-6020 Q40 Loader +Q40 Q40 Loader 2012 +T-6020 Q40 Loader +8ft Loader 2010 40K 2009 T-6050 Cab Suspension 240D Mounted Mower 2008T-6050 John deere 6630 TLS 2012 2009 Cab Suspension SPECIAL SPRING OFFERS Huge savings on genuine New 2010 T6080 2010 40K T6080 Eco Trans 40K Eco Trans SPECIAL SPRING OFFERS 2013 CASE 2013 105U CASE + Loader 105U + Loader SPECIAL OFFERS 2010 T6080 2010 40K T6080 Eco 40K Trans Eco Trans Huge savings on genuine New Holland on genuine New Holland Holland T6.125 CAB Suspension 2009 T-6050 Cab Suspension SPECIAL SPECIAL SPRING SPRING OFFERS OFFERS 2008 John deere 6630 TLS SPECIAL SPECIAL SPRING SPRING OFFERS OFFERS SPECIAL SPECIAL OFFERS OFFERS 2009 T-6050 Cab Suspension 2008 John Deere 6630 40K TLS 2009 T-6050 2009 Cab T-6050 Suspension Cab Suspension Huge savings on genuine New Holland 2008 John 2008 deere John 6630 deere TLS 6630 TLS 2008 John Deere 6630 40K TLS 2009 T-6050 2009 Cab T-6050 Suspension Cab Suspension filters for April 2004 CASE MXM 120 classic Huge savings Huge on savings genuine on New genuine Holland New Huge savings on genuine New Holland on genuine New Holland RV255 100” Howard Rotavator Huge savings Huge on savings genuine on New genuine Holland New Holland on genuine on New genuine Holland New Holland Holland filters for April 2008 John Deere 6630 40K TLS 2008 John 2008 Deere John 6630 Deere 40K 6630 TLS 40K TLS 2008 John 2008 Deere John 6630 Deere 40K 6630 TLS 40K TLS filters for April filters for April 2005 TM190 Terraglide 2004 CASE 2004 MXM CASE 120 MXM classic 120 classic 2008 John Deere 6630 40K 2005 TLS TM190 filters forfilters Aprilfrom 2004TM190 CASE MXM 120 classic filters€12 for April filters forvat April TM fuel plus 2005 Terraglide filters for April 2005 Terraglide TM190 Terraglide TM fuel filters from €12 plus vat TM fuel filters TM from fuel filters €12 plus from vat €12 plus vat 2005 TM190 2005 Terraglide TM190 Terraglide TM fuel filters from fuel filters €12 plus fromvat €12 plus vat 2005TM190 TM190Terraglide Terraglide TMfuel fuelfilters filters from from €12TM plus vat 2005 TM €12 plus vat

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Farming technology: How the future looks

An AutoCart allows a farmer to operate a driverless tractor and grain trailer, all from the comfort of the cab of the harvester. ACCORDING to the United Nations, the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050. These people will need space to live and food to eat. Both will put massive pressure on the agricultural sector across the globe. But with huge advances being made in agricultural technology, the future of farming looks both sustainable and exciting.

In the driving seat

From partial to total farm machine autonomation, autonomous technology is redefining the future of farming. Driverless agricultural technology is sure to make farming more efficient, possibly even safer, because there is less

‘Dot’ is set to be a farmer’s new best friend. Above right: the DJI drone which does the job of manual spraying and can cover 10 acres in a single flight.

human involvement needed, also addressing any shortages in labour. • AutoCart, by Raven Autonomy, is driverless agricultural technology used for harvest operations. It enables a farmer to operate a driverless tractor and grain trailer, from the comfort of the cab of the harvester. Before take-off, the farmer sets a field plan and establishes staging locations. During the harvesting, they can adjust the speed of the tractor, monitor location activity, and return the tractor to a predetermined unloading area. • Dot is set to become a farmer’s new best friend. Running either completely autonomously or remotely controlled, the Dot Power Platform can complete a range of farm tasks, such as seeding, spraying or spreading. The farmer uses the computer programme to set out a path plan for each field, including any boundary or obstacle information. This information then loads onto Dot’s software, the farmer approves it, and off Dot goes. It uses short and long-range sensors to detect any obstacles such as livestock, people, crops and other equipment. If it detects anything, it stops immediately and awaits further instructions from the farmer. • The Monarch Tractor is the world’s first fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor, all integrated on a single platform. It is compact in size and has exportable power, making it a source of remote electrical power out in the field. It collects and analyses crop data every time it operates, allowing for analysis of field health. It has a micro 6

weather station on board and will cease spraying if wind picks up and exceeds a pre-planned level. It can work with the farmer’s current implements and can perform pre-programmed tasks without a driver, or an operator can use the automation features to have the tractor follow a worker on the job.

Droning on

Drones are in widespread use on farms. They can record video footage or take photographs, they can monitor crops, identify weeds, and ensure targeted use of herbicides, as well as capturing detailed crop and livestock data. They can even spray the land and control insects. The DJI Agras MG-1 drone can carry 10kg of fluid and cover 10 acres in a single flight, reducing the need for manual spraying. The AgriDrone, used at night, utilises infrared and thermal cameras to locate and treat insect pests. The Ecobotix drone delivers beneficial insects such as ladybirds, predatory mites by dropping them into fields so that they can get to work in controlling pests.


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Readily available tech ... Herdwatch App

Simplify beef, dairy, sheep and tillage farming by eliminating paperwork. Record remedy purchases and usages, feed purchases, weight and heat observations, register calves, apply for Movement Certs, create animal groups for batch testing, and record sprays.

iFarm App

Get regular and up-to-date information from the IFA regarding latest prices and costs that could affect farm businesses.

Safety first

Lely

Doosan Infracore Europe has launched a wheel loader transparent bucket system (above), allowing the driver to see blind spots in front of the bucket using the monitor in the cab which receives images from cameras that are placed on top and bottom of the wheel loader, increasing safety and preventing accidents.

The Lely Astronaut A5 is a robotic automatic milking system that allows the cows to decide themselves when to eat, drink, relax or be milked. The system collects data on each cow on milk production and cow health.

Robots rule

The TerraSentia is a small track robot that can walk through an agricultural field, measuring each plant’s stem diameter, its height, and the leaf area. Sensors also measure photosynthesis. The data collected by the robot gives the complete DNA sequence of a plant. The best combination of genes to grow the best plant can then be decided, which will hugely accelerate the growing and improvement of crops across the globe.

Farmony >>

Home, education and commercial configurations for vertical farming, enabling the farmer or growing enthusiast to grow crops which are pesticide free and hyper local, with a 365-day yield.

Smart spraying

MooMonitor+

John Deere has partnered with Solorrow, a German agri-tech start-up, to launch an app to allow farmers identify fields in a map view on their smartphone. The selected areas can be divided into different soil zones in terms of fertiliser and spray application maps. The maps are sent to the John Deere Operations Centre and to the appropriate vehicle. The in-cab display gets the data and gives the spreader or sprayer the site-specific application rate based on its position.

The Dairymaster MooMonitor+ neck sensor monitors cow neck movements 24/7 for heat related activity, rumination, resting, feeding, head position and restlessness, allowing the farmer to monitor their entire herd from their smartphone.

SPONSORED CONTENT

Censortec and Alfco join forces to offer full heat detection and drafting integration to farmers A new partnership between Censortec Ireland and Alfco Farm services will bring together the expertise and technology of two of Ireland's industry leaders. The two companies have built their reputations on providing technological solutions that make life easier for dairy farmers, through Censortec's Nedap Cow Control heat detection and animal health monitoring system and Alfco's drafting gate systems. "You're getting the global leader in heat detection and health monitoring systems partnered with the Irish leader in drafting gate systems. The farmer gets the benefit of the two systems and the benefit of expertise in support for the two systems," says Donagh Crowley of Censortec. "The companies have one very similar approach - it's all about the farmer. We concentrate on supporting and continuously improving the farmer's experience in using Censortec Nedap Control and Kieran and Alfco have the very same approach when it comes to their prod-ucts." "The partnership technically combines the two products, creating a solution that allows farmers to work more accurately and safely and maximise efficiency and profitability of the farm. "Heat and health attentions and alerts

from the Censortec system are seamlessly integrated and connected to the Alfco drafting app. This saves farmers an enormous amount of time and labour, as tasks associated with visual heat detection and health monitoring as well as manual drafting are now fully automated and integrated." Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco farming services said the partnership was a good fit that would bring together two complementary systems to increase farm efficiency. "Censortec would be the market leaders in heat detection and health monitoring so when we went out to look for a partner, we saw Censortec as the people to go with," adds Kieran. "They're experts in the field of heat detection and we like to think we're experts in the field of drafting gates. The farmer is getting the latest, most up to date way of carrying out their tasks." Censortec Nedap Cow Control tracks the heats of Donagh Crowley of Censortec and Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services cows and provides health monitoring 24 hours a day through the Smarttag Neck Collar. It transfers all the data in real time, so you can easily access it on a phone, tablet or computer. This data is now being

Donagh Crowley of Censortec and Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services.

transferred to the Alfco drafting systems, which conveniently drafts any animals on heat attention. Censortec Nedap Cow Control removes the need for tail painting, cow watching and other labour-intensive methods while increasing accuracy and making high submission rates a realistic target for dairy farmers. It aims to make the farm a safer place with regards the reduction in bulls and now the availability of auto drafting with the ALFCO DraftingSystem.

7

To learn more about heat detection with activity monitoring systems, visit censortec.com or contact them on 086 8592968. For information on the Alfco Drafting Gate, contact Kieran on 087 2583952.


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

Direct and Indirect Effects of Lameness on a Dairy Farm It is widely accepted that there is not enough emphasis put on hoof care and regular hoof trimming as there has been on other modern dairy practices. In other words, meaning that the current reactive approach of treating lame animals only, is outdated and inefficient. It might make the animal feel better, but the damage is done and your cow's profitability is already affected. With even more considered husbandry, a strict foot bath routine and scheduled professional hoof trimming and balancing it is possible to reduce lameness within the herd and keep it below at least 5%.

Lameness is one of the primary considerations, alongside mastitis and infertility, affecting a dairy herd's profitability. Apart from obvious discomfort and welfare concerns, lameness directly negatively impacts the animals performance. A lame cow is more likely to have a higher number of days to 1st service, have more 'empty' days and have increased services to conception. Lameness also leaves the animal more vulnerable to developing metabolic diseases like ketosis and ultimately exposes the animal to a higher risk of premature exit from the herd. An Irish study in 2004 revealed, that a single case of lameness in the herd cost the farmer €300 on average. A recent study carried out by Teagasc on Irish herds, showed that 37% of the national herd were affected by some degree of clinical lameness, not taking into consideration all of the subclinical cases. That's a bottom line loss of €10,000/annum for a 100 head herd. This huge loss in annual income is something that should be seriously and carefully considered.

It's important to understand that cattle are prey animals by nature and their instinct is to mask any weakness until they can no longer cope with the pain. Therefore, by the time we notice a lame cow, the animal has most likely been lame for a number of weeks already. The greater the discomfort endured, the more the cow's performance and daily time budget is affected. A healthy animal normally gets up 12-15 times a day to feed and drink water. This mobility greatly reduces Balancing Trimming 1/2 depending on the level of tenderness caused by such lameness.

Balancing Trimming 2/2

A cow doesn't have to be obviously lame to lose production, it's enough if she is simply uncomfortable. A cow in discomfort eats less, drinks less and rests more - all factors which contribute to a decrease in efficient productivity as well as negatively affecting her overall health and body condition. Losing condition, the animal's fat pad in the hoof gets thinner, losing their much needed natural cushioning.

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Nationally, the average age of a cow milking in a herd is 3.5 lactations with the average culling age being 4.5 lactations. A replacement heifer has to serve 1.5 lactations to essentially pay for herself and it's only after this point she starts making any profit. The current replacement rate on dairy farms is over 25% meaning, if you're keeping a 100 animal herd, less than 75 of them are actively making a profit. Reducing this rate should be the number one goal from both business and sustainability point of view.

Money well spent

9


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Work, rest and play – strike the right balance

Achieving a good blend of work and ‘downtime’ is the ideal for everyone, but particularly so for farmers who put in long hard hours, and often while working in isolation. Two West Cork farmers tell Emma Connolly how they relax and reset BARRY O’DONOVAN

revolutionised calf rearing here in terms of speeding things up and taking the drudgery out of the tasks. We could feed 60 calves now in around 25 minutes. A new 120L milk cart is another valuable time-saving device for the calf rearing,’ said Barry. He praised Cathal and Niamh for being a tremendous help in almost entirely taking care of the older calves from feeding, to bedding etc and said he’d be completely lost without them. Grass measuring, or as he says himself, ‘eye-balling’ is another device he uses to stay on top of things. ‘I’ve been doing this since I was 21 so I can hop on the quad bike and drive through the centre of the paddocks and can see at a glance that I’ve enough grass to last me until April which is far enough ahead for me,’ he said. The quad is another time saver, although after two operations on his left knee, it’s also a necessity, he jokes. That’s another reason

Barry O’Donovan with his wife Aileen and children Jack, Cathal and Niamh at the 2020 Tour de Munster cycle in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland. THE farm will never volunteer to give you a break so you have to be ruthless in making sure you take your time off, otherwise it will eat you up. That’s according to Drimoleague dairy farmer Barry O’Donovan. The father-of-three is an avid cyclist, after getting involved in Down Syndrome Ireland’s Tour De Munster back in 2012 after his youngest son Jack was born with DS. He remembers how he started out cycling to give something back to the groups supporting his son, but now he can hardly imagine a life without the activity. ‘At the start it was for Down Syndrome Ireland, but now it’s totally for me,’ he said. The 47-year-old started farming when he was 21 – possibly too young, he reflects, and milks a herd of 90 cows at Madore. At different stages he combined farm work with his own stone masonry business and work as an AI technician, which he still does from April to July. Married to Aileen, they’re parents to Cathal (17), Niamh (14) and Jack who turned 10 in January. Typically Barry aims to get on his bike two evenings a week, for around two hours; and then does a longer spin on a Sunday – all with the full support and encouragement

of Aileen which he’s very grateful for. His cycling buddy is fellow West Cork farmer William Kingston, but Barry remarks how 80% of the time, they talk about everything and anything except farming. ‘The thing about farming is that you’re tied to it day and night and that’s just the way it is. So you have to be really disciplined to get some time off from it, and to remember that it will all still be there for you when you get back,’ he says. The temptation, he says, might be to skip a cycle: ‘But it’s not until you’re on the bike, and out the entrance that you realise how much you needed it, and I always come back feeling better and a completely different person.’ To make sure he gets time to indulge his hobby, Barry works hard to be increasingly efficient on the farm. ‘The most important thing I feel is to invest in good machinery and your cow housing. These investments can be significant, I appreciate that, but it’s important to remember that you have the rest of your life to pay for them. ‘That’s something I didn’t fully realise when I was younger, but seven years ago we put in new calf houses and it has completely

he enjoys the low impact pastime of cycling, while also raising valuable funds for the West Cork Down Syndrome Support Group. He concludes: ‘There’s always fertiliser to be put out, or grass to be mowed or whatever, but never anything for yourself, which is why I think it’s vital for farmers to find a hobby and stick to it.’

... it’s not until you’re on the bike ... that you realise how much you needed it, and I always come back feeling better ...’

CAROLINE WALSH

Caroline with her husband Joe and children Leanne, Conor, Louise, Daniel and Katelyn. AWARD-winning Ballinascarthy farmer Caroline Walsh has a busy farm, and a busy household but regardless of how hectic things can get, she feels strongly about maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Caroline has five children ranging in ages from 14 to four, and a herd of 64 cows, but her efficient farming practices and rigorous forward planning, allows her to balance 10

both, and also maintain her off-farm interests. For starters she always milks her herd early, around 6.30am, which gives her the option of milking them again as early as 3pm if her kids have after school activities. The choice of paddock they’re let out to afterwards, also depends what’s happening with their schedules. For example if she’s tight on time they’ll go near the parlour to


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming save valuable minutes, or if there’s nothing on, they’ll go a further distance. This is all planned days in advance. ‘The farm has to fit around the kids,’ says Caroline who always has a change of clothes in her jeep, and will have the kids loaded up and ready to roll outside the parlour when the clock is ticking. On a given Saturday she might have to bring some kids to camogie in Ballinscarthy for 10am, more to football in Ahiohill for 10.30am, back to collect the first crew at 11am, and the others 1pm, with cows calving in between. ‘There’s military style planning, but it’s also organised chaos!’ she says, honestly admitting that it doesn’t always ‘run smoothly.’ She describes her slow cooker as her ‘best friend’ and the dinner is typically put on around 8am, when she comes in from morning cows. She also recycles butter tubs, and niftily uses them as lunch boxes to bring dinner to silage contractors when working on the farm, when things are really busy. ‘My husband Joe is an agricultural contractor and if the weather is good and they want to stay going I just pass these to them on the tractor, with some milk in a jam jar with a lid.’ Staying with her household hacks, she has a plastic container on the counter top for each of the kids clothes, and they get put away once a week in one swoop; while another kitchen press has their uniforms. ‘It’s a system and it works for us – most of the time,’ she said.

Back on the farm, she uses bolus technology to detect heat in the cows and it’s something she ‘couldn’t put a price on.’ ‘It will detect if a cow has a decrease in temperature and it means I can get to her early when she’d have a sub-clinical milk fever, and before she’d turn into a downer in which case it could cost me hours in terms of labour, having to use a loader to move her etc,’ said Caroline. Grass measuring once a week is another discipline she follows which means on a given Tuesday, she knows exactly where her cows will be on a Friday. ‘I also have around 10 fencing reels and bars so if a morning was relatively slow, Joe would be able to split say paddock seven into three, or paddock four into five so we can get ahead. That means that all my eldest Katelyn has to do when bringing in the cows is to roll up a wire, as the calculations are all done in advance.’ The kids all play GAA and are involved in rowing, which gives Caroline and Joe an outlet to go along as spectators. ‘Also before lockdown I’d also have tried to get out once a week if I could to meet a friend for a drink and a chat, and I’m also in two discussion groups. I do think it’s very important to make that time to get off the farm. Farming can be very isolating, 100% so, but because of my lifestyle, and the fact that there are five voices around me a lot of the time, milking my cows is my therapy and I’m very content with that isolation.’

Mind your mental health ‘THIS is one of the busiest times of year for agriculture and it coincides with a very lonely time for many due to Covid-19 restrictions.’ That’s according to FG Senator Tim Lombard, a dairy farmer from Minane Bridge who is urging farmers to ‘mind their mental health.’ ‘Many farmers aren’t seeing anyone from one day to the next, and it’s fair to say everyone is suffering from lockdown fatigue at the moment. ‘I’m appealing to all farmers to keep an eye on their mental health. There is nothing wrong in seeking help; it is in fact a sign of strength and courage to be able to reach out during a time of need. ‘A usually stressful time of solitary work has been exacerbated by the stress we are all feeling about the global pandemic, and the usual social outlets of a pint with friends, a chat with family or a game of football aren’t an option.’ Research has shown that farmers are three times more likely to die by suicide than any other occupation. Senator Lombard said that research has also shown that there is a 50% chance of a farmer struggling with mental health problems throughout their career: ‘Let’s do everything we can to lessen those odds in favour of Irish farmers.’

SEEK ASSISTANCE Senator Lombard, the Seanad spokesperson on agriculture continued: ‘Your GP is a good port of call if you’re not feeling like yourself. ‘But if you don’t want to contact them, pick up the phone to a friend, a family member or another farmer. A simple phone call can have a very positive impact on us and others, and a problem shared is a problem halved. ‘It’s ok not to be ok. Don’t suffer in silence and seek help if at all necessary,’ Senator Lombard concluded.

OTHER HELP: • The Mind Our Farm Families is a dedicated suicide and self-harm phone line between the IFA and Pieta House, call 1890 130 022. • Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day, call 116 123.

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Protecting our waterways: the role of farmers These three simple actions will ensure that you are proactively protecting our waterways:

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

Bank of Ireland offers new competitive finance scheme to West Cork dairy farmers By John Fitzgerald Bank of Ireland is delighted to announce the launch of Dairyflex, a competitive finance package to support dairy farmers supplying the West Cork co-ops including Bandon, Barryroe, and Lisavaird Since the lifting of milk quotas in 2015, supply has grown 50% and €1bn has been invested in Irish dairy farms. Dairyflex has been rolled out to milk suppliers through partner co-ops, and the scheme has been very successful to date with almost 2,000 applications received. Dairyflex is available to fund farm development, such as bulk milk tanks and milking parlours, land purchases and working capital, along with the ability to fund investments made from cashflow within the previous 2 years. The minimum loan size is €15,000 and there is the option to make repayments in line with the seasonal milk curve. A key benefit of Dairyflex to milk suppliers is the ability to borrow up to €120,000 unsecured at a variable interest rate of 3.73% (maximum term 7 years unsecured). A further benefit is that Dairyflex can be used to purchase land and fund

Maire McCarthy

Bantry, Skibbereen & Clonakilty E: Maire.McCarthy@boi.com P: 087 2354353

(Photo: Shutterstock)

farm yard developments over longer periods. For example, farm yard development finance up to 15 years is available, as well as finance for land purchases up to 20 years. New entrants can also borrow to fund infrastructure and

stock prior to commencing milk production. For farmers interested in hearing about the benefits of Dairyflex, please contact any of the Bank of Ireland staff listed below. Normal lending terms & conditions apply.

Donal Casey

Michael Deasy

Bandon, Dunmanway, Kinsale & Macroom E: donal_p_casey@boi.com P: 087 6213880

Bantry, Skibbereen & Clonakilty E: michael _ j.deasy@boi.com P: 087 0957581

John Fitzgerald Agri Manager Munster Bank of Ireland

Dan O’Riordan

Bandon, Dunmanway, Kinsale & Macroom E: dan.o’riordan@boi.com P: 087 1443438

www.bankofireland.com 13


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

‘We’ll never forget’ The fatality rate as a result of farming-related accidents remains higher than in any other economic sector in Ireland. One West Cork mum knows this only too well and recalls the day her young son Shannan lost his life on the family farm BY EMMA CONNOLLY YOU don’t ever completely heal, but you do learn to live with the tragedy. So says Catherine Keohane as she reflects on the death of her eldest Shannan after an accident on their Bantry farm in 2003. The nine-year-old somehow became entwined in the PTO shaft of a tractor while out with his father Denis at the farm at Corran, Coomhola. Catherine, who was only 32-years-old at the time, remembers being in the house that awful day, 29th of September, with her other kids, daughters Leanne, nearly three and Donna, 15 months. ‘Denis arrived at the door with Shannan in his arms and said to call an ambulance. Strangely enough, Denis’ best friend had been killed in a farm accident nine years earlier, on the same road, so we knew it would take at least 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive so he put him in the back of

underwent extensive surgery and battled for five days in ICU but Catherine said ‘luck was not on his side.’ ‘I knew he was tired, there was a look upon his face, and he passed at 1am on the 5th of October,’ she said.

the car and went to Bantry Hospital. ‘It was very strange, not knowing what to do, what not to do. I remember being afraid to call the hospital in case I was told he was gone,’ she said. Her mother-in-law came to mind the

‘There are a whole lot of “what ifs” and “whys” but we stay away from them. They’re detrimental’

He never regained consciousness after the accident but his mum says he could definitely hear them. ‘The hospital chaplain was from Tyrone. And not long before the accident Cork had played Tyrone in a match. Shannon and I

girls and Catherine made her way to Bantry where medics had made Shannan comfortable, before he was taken by garda escort to CUH. The youngster had suffered serious head injuries and had lost his left hand. He 14

had had a great day that day, playing ball together and when I told the chaplain about it his heart monitor started beeping. It was the same whenever I came in to the room or left it,’ she remembers. Catherine said she had no other option but to struggle on as best she could in the aftermath of his death: ‘I had the girls to look after, they were still very young. Shannan had been the best big brother to them and I know he’d have been really annoyed with me if I hadn’t kept going.’ For Denis, she said, it was the worst nightmare come true. He wasn’t Shannan’s biological father and had adopted him when he and Catherine married after she returned from the UK where she had been a single mother. ‘He was his dad in every way. It was very hard on him,’ she said. When asked how she remembers her son, 16 years later, Catherine said: ‘Someone


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming unforgettable, very adventurous, who loved being outside. ‘His father was Algerian and Shannan had a head of gorgeous ringlets, which I cut after he twice got lice. But he had planned to grow them again and lots of people around here I think will remember his curls,’ said the 49-year-old. Catherine and Denis had felt their family of five was complete but with the passing of Shannan, a gap was left in their hearts and their home. They went on to welcome Jordan (15), Tina (13) and MacKenzie (11) to the family, to join Leanne (now 20) and Donna (18). It’s a busy household with all children still home. Leanne had left for college in NUIG but the pandemic has them all under the one roof again. Leanne says the family are very conscious about keeping Shannan’s memory alive. ‘The older I get I’m not sure if I’m remembering him, or remembering memories but we talk about him all the time. His room is still his room and we always have a cake and

candles for his birthday,’ she says. Tellingly, when she got her drivers licence her first trip was to his grave: ‘I wasn’t able to take him for a spin, so I went for a spin to him.’ To this day the couple aren’t exactly sure what happened, and Catherine describes it as a ‘freak accident.’ Denis thinks he may have been trying to climb into the tractor from the rear, grabbed the PTO lever, which turned it on and pulled him in. Catherine said: ‘There are a whole lot of “what ifs” and “whys” but we stay away from them. They’re detrimental. ‘When a tragedy like this strikes families can either fall together or fall apart, but we are our own unit and we’ve done well.’ Shannan would now be 26 and Catherine feels pretty sure he’d have gone to the US, possibly Boston, where his biological dad lives. Naturally she thinks of him all the time. When asked if time has healed Catherine says: ‘I still have bad days, but you learn to live with it.’

Above: Shannan, aged nine. Catherine says he was adventurous and unforgettable. Left: the Keohane family, who are determined to keep Shannan’s memory alive and mark occasions such as his birthday.

‘Embrace’ help and support for bereaved families THE Keohane’s became aware of the charity Embrace FARM shortly after it was set up in 2014, 11 years after Shannan’s death and around the time he’d have turned 21. Embrace FARM (Farm Accidents Remembered and Missed) was set up by Brian and Norma Rohan from Co. Laois, following the death of Brian’s father Liam from a farm accident on their family farm in 2012. Liam suffered a severe blow to his head while carrying out repair work on machinery and died many days later. The Rohan’s felt there was no support out there specifically for farm families in this situation. To honour all those who had died in a farm accident they held an ecumenical Remembrance Service in Laois in June 2014. With over 600 people attending the first service,

including the Keohane’s, having heard about it on the radio, it has been held each year since on the last Sunday of June. Having received its full charitable status in 2017, Embrace FARM’s vision is to be a caring and supportive agri community for all those affected by farm accidents, explains the Business Development Manager, Catherine Collins, originally from Baltimore, who said that 12% of the families it supports are from the Cork area with more than half of them based in West Cork. The Keohane’s regularly attend weekends organised by them and have made valuable friendships through the group. ‘There are new people joining all the time, every year there’s someone new in the circle sadly. You very much

15

wish there wasn’t but the statistics are there to prove otherwise,’ says Catherine, originally from Clonaklty. Catherine says the organisation is especially helpful for dads who may otherwise find it hard to open up and talk. ‘Women are better at working their way through things but it’s a safe place for men to open up and have their time and be with people who have experienced the same thing.’ For more see embracefarm.com


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

Prioritising getting cows back in calf Helen O’ Sullivan of Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware and agri shares tips on preparing your cattle to go out on grass and get back in calf quickly. With calving season well and truly underway, famers are preparing fields for cattle to graze. Ensuring all areas are securely fenced and gated with adequate water supply. The dry spell at the end of February and start of March was very welcome. With ground conditions improved, farmers could empty their slurry tanks and spread fertilizer. Getting cows back in calf will be a priority. A good body condition score together with adequate trace mineral nutrition has a big influence on fertility and conception rates. Farmers need to be watchful for deficiencies in copper, which can lead to decreased conception rates, infertility and silent heats. This can be avoided, by introducing fertility post calver buckets and copper supplement injections are

also available, if required. Grass tetany is another issue to look out for, caused by a magnesium deficiency, this occurs when the animal is stressed. Factors leading to stress would include a rapid change in diet or cows bullying. To reduce the risk of grass tetany, I’d recommend introducing hi-mag buckets or magnesium bolus can also be given orally, if required. Being a suckler and drystock farmer myself, I am very familiar with the challenges that come with farming. Calving and lambing season is a very busy and stressful time for farmers. They may feel under pressure both physically and mentally. I speak with Helen O’Sullivan, Sales Rep at Cronin’s Homevalue Hardware Ballylickey shares top farmers every day, who talk about missing meeting people, with trips to tips to get cows back in calf quickly. the mart, races and football matches many farmers in these difficult times. Cork, people can feel isolated and no longer happening. At Cronin’s lonely. Even a phone call or a quick On a personal note, I’d like to Hardware we make an extra effort to chat with our customers, as we know encourage others to check in on their letter to let them know you are lookthis may be the only social outing for neighbours, especially in rural West ing out for them.

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With calving season well and truly underway, famers are Cronin’s Homevalue preparing fields for cattle to Hardware graze. Ensuring allstock areas are gates,fenced stakes, wire, securely and gated with adequate water supply. fencers, water troughs

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Protecting our water

By Niamh Hayes THE agricultural sector is estimated to account for over 70% of global water use, making it the largest using sector. It is also a major polluter of water due to fertiliser run-off, pesticide use and livestock effluents. Ireland’s water quality is of critical importance, especially in terms of our reputation as food producers and as a tourist destination, therefore, improving agriculture’s water management is essential. Ireland’s nitrate regulations are currently under review, as the current derogation period concludes at the end of the year. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is also set to publish the Agri-Food Strategy 2030 shortly. Therefore, the role agriculture plays in water quality is a major topic. There are many strategies that farmers can look at implementing to help do their part in keeping our water clean and safe.

Catch crops

Autumn and winter is typically a time when land is left

idle. Winter and spring crops have been and gone and the unused ground can result in nitrogen losses. However, by putting in place a ‘catch’ or ‘cover’ crop measure during these months, more nitrogen will be soaked up. Autumn grown catch crops, such as fodder rape, leafy turnip, mustard, phacelia or cereal crops, help to reduce nutrient runoff from soils as they soak up nitrogen, meaning rainwater won’t be hitting bare soil.

Monitor soil health

Monitoring soil health and implementing practices which promote optimal soil health will not only ensure that the soil is in top-notch quality for the farming practices it is used for, it could also help improve water quality. Soil health includes the structural, chemical and biological health of the soil. There are tests which farmers can carry out themselves, such as visual inspections, earthworm counts, infiltration tests and soil pH tests. More extensive pH and macronutrient tests can be carried out in laboratories. Carrying out soil tests will help identify which nutrients

the soil needs. The right amount of nutrients can then be applied, so that plants, grasses and crops get only what they need. Excess application can lead to run-offs and nutrients entering waterways, so managing the amount that is spread is a key practice that can help with water quality.

Slurry and fertiliser usage

Following on from soil health tests, farmers can then spread slurry and fertiliser only when it is truly needed. Although the weather can be unpredictable in Ireland, aiming to spread it only when the weather conditions are suitable will help to prevent it from running into waterways due to rain or wind. If the land is next to a waterway, farmers should use spreading methods that ensure slurry or fertilisers don’t run off and contaminate the water. Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) technology allows for accurate spreading of slurry by minimising the surface area to which it is applied. This in turn increases the nitrogen availability, while also decreasing the environmental impacts as the slurry is put directly into the ground. The

From left: Phacelia is just one of a range of ‘catch’ crops; soil health is vital to any discussion about agriculture and water quality; slurry should only be spread when truly needed. 18


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming band-spreader, trailing shoe and shallow injection are the main pieces of LESS equipment available. Having slurry storage that is not fit for purpose can lead to excess application of slurry due to needing to empty the tank. Adequate storage facilities and practices, including the prevention of water entering the tank, will reduce the possibility of unsafe run-offs.

Use of protected urea

Using protected urea fertiliser has both environmental and economic benefits. Protected urea converts to the ammonium form of nitrogen when it is applied to the ground. Ammonium is then converted to nitrate and is taken up by plants as required, resulting in a significant reduction in ammonia losses, as well as less of a worry of excess nitrate being leached away and impacting waterways.

Barriers

Hedging or rough grass strips which are cultivated along

margins in fields, act as a barrier to soil loss in times of adverse weather. The barriers will prevent soil from moving too far, reduce water run-off, trap nutrients and in turn, help to protect water.

Farmyard management

Farmyards are one of the busiest places on a farm, with livestock, machinery and chemicals among the items passing through on a regular basis, all of which can create or carry soiled water, which is at risk of entering clean waterways. Restricting the traffic passing through the yard is the first step in minimising the movement of soiled water. But restrictions can only go so far, so having adequate cleaning protocols in place, such as having surfaces that are easy to clean and carrying out regular cleaning, will help to prevent soiled water from creating too much damage. Other areas that can be looked at within the farmyard are diverting clean water away from yard areas, diverting soiled water to adequate storage facilities, ensuring silage pits are

kept to capacity and not exceeded and there are adequate effluent channels from them, contain manure appropriately, and store and dispose of all chemicals carefully and appropriately. Farmers should also keep an eye out for any leaks throughout the farm on a regular basis and carry out repairs as soon as possible to avoid any cross-contamination between soiled water, slurry, fertilisers or chemicals, and clean water. Farmers don’t hold all the answers when it comes to maintaining or improving Ireland’s water quality, but they definitely have a part to play, and implementing some of the above measures will go a long way in protecting our invaluable resource.

• Further information on water quality week is available on teagasc.ie/waterqualityweek, from your local co-op sustainability advisor and watersandcommunities.ie

Rough grass strips or hedging can prevent water runoff. Having easy to clean surfaces in farm yards and being vigilant about any leaks to avoid cross contamination is also vital.

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

Have you ever considered a career in farming? Well now might be the time to follow that path and apply for a place at Clonakilty Agricultural College. two years and students attend for one day and one evening per week’.

Applications are open across the range of courses that are offered by the College. Whether you are a school-leaver, sitting your Leaving Certificate, or looking for a new opportunity, there is a course to suit everyone’s needs, and you don’t need to come from a farming background to apply. ‘A significant number of our students come from backgrounds that wouldn’t have a farm at home’, says Keith Kennedy, Principal, Clonakilty Agricultural College, and he encourages anyone who has an interest in farming to apply. The first course on offer is the two-year Level 5/6 Advanced Certificate where students can specialise in dairy or drystock management. Applications can be made online from now until June 30th, and the only criteria is that the student turns 17 by the end of 2021. This course starts in September and puts a big emphasis on outdoor practical skills, with students getting the opportunity to go on work placement with host farmers. ‘Students in the Level 5 and

6 courses are eligible for the means tested student maintenance grant’, adds Keith. Graduates of the Level 6 course can apply to the Level 7 Farm Apprenticeship, where they work with one or two farmers over the course of two years.

‘We are also launching our part-time Level 6 Certificate in Farming in early April in conjunction with the Teagasc Advisory Unit in Cork West and is open to over 23s. It is held over

They can also apply to the Level 8 BSc in Agriculture, which is run in conjunction with Munster Technological University (MTU) Cork. This course can also be applied to through the CAO. ‘We also run a Level 8 BSc in Agricultural Science in conjunction with MTU Kerry which is applied to through the CAO’, says Keith. For those who are interested in farming but have a non-agricultural Level 6 or higher qualification, the Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming is a distance education course which combines self-directed learning with 20 attendance days, spread out over 20 months. There are limited places, and it is first come, first served.

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‘All courses run at Clonakilty Agricultural College entitle students to a Green Cert on completion’, adds Keith. With a range of livestock, practical training facilities and farm vehicles on campus, students get a hands-on experience no matter which course they’re doing. Information about the courses can be found at www. teagasc.ie/clonakilty or by calling 023-8832500.


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Monitor your cash flow By Kevin Connolly MANAGING the farm and household finances can often be tricky. There is always a bill to be paid and the house to run on a weekly basis. When income is under pressure this immediately puts the focus on all spending, so it is important to establish your financial position. There are a few key questions to consider when assessing your financial fitness. The questions get longer as we go down the list but the answers are a straightforward yes or no in each case: • Do I know my cost of production? That is, how much does it cost me to produce my milk, cattle, lambs or grain? • Do I know my current cash flow position? How much money do I have available to me? • Have I calculated the main cash in and cash out for 2021? • Is there a cash reserve or emergency fund available if current cash flow tightens?

are essentially talking about here is doing a cash flow budget.

• • • •

Cashflow budget Preparing a cash flow budget will never be an exact science. Product and input prices will vary, so don’t get bogged down in the detail. Make your best attempt to weigh up what might happen with money flow and then use this to compare against what actually happens each month.

Put the figures into the budget in the month that you think each receipt or payment happens. Use your knowledge and experience of what happened last year as a guide. Don’t worry about trying to be 100% accurate. Some transactions will be more or less the same as last year in their timing and the amount. Including a figure for farm sales is going to have the biggest impact on most budgets. The cash figure you put in for sales in each month is going to be determined by the amount sold and the price received. Again, use your best estimate.

Creating your annual budget Set aside time during the day for this job – don’t leave it until the late evening. Have your farm records nearby. You will need bank statements, sales dockets or statements, cheque books and invoices. When doing the cash flow budget, choose whatever works for you and what you are comfortable with. You can stick to the pencil, paper and calculator, use the Teagasc Cost Control Planner programme or there are many other computer programmes available to assist in cash budgeting.

Cashflow

Getting the budget started

The common theme running through these four key questions is cash flow. Managing cash flow well is the best insulator against price ‘shocks’ for a business. The key to giving you a feel for how to navigate through 2021 with a level of confidence is an understanding of what is likely to be your net cash flow at key intervals (end of every month or at least every quarter). What we

Start with the money-in and money-out items that you know are going to happen at certain times of the year. Some examples are: • Milk cheque • Livestock sales • EU payments • Electricity/phone • Contractor • Insurance

Land lease/rental Labour Loan repayments Family drawings

Tweaking the budget Your completed cash flow budget should be a plan of how you predict money is going to flow in and out of your bank account, merchant account or pocket during the year. There will be months where Net Cash Flow (NCF) will be positive (always a good thing), and no doubt other months where NCF is negative (not so good but not unexpected in certain months). These ups-and downs in NCF will feed through to the monthly current account balance which is a measure of your available funds to run the farm from month to month. Showing a red (negative) current account balance in certain months is not unusual. 23

However if your budget shows up months where there is clearly a lot more going out in payments than is coming in via receipts then you should take a closer look to see if you can better manage the money flow to try and reduce the monthly cash shortage.

Some options to look at here include: •

Rearranging loan repayments so that they are made in months where there is more cash coming in. If the facility is available, look at staged payments for larger bills owed to merchants etc. Set yourself up to save money in the good months that can be fed back in to boost cash flow in tight months.

Records for you to use The cash flow budget is a plan, and like any plan, for it to be effective, you need to refer to it on a regular basis and measure your progress against it. That is where cash flow recording comes in. Challenge yourself to sit down each month and record money in and money out and compare it to your budget. • Kevin Connolly is a Teagasc Farm Business Management and Taxation Specialist


Magazine Title | The Southern Star | Edition (e.g Autumn 2020)

WEST CORK FARM

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Edition (e.g Autumn 2020) | The Southern Star | Magazine Title

MING IN PHOTOS

Clockwise from top left: Geoff Wycherley, Bandon, a fourth year student at Clonakilty Community College is a familiar face at the West Cork ploughing championships and is looking forward to the 2022 season; Pat O’Sullivan ploughing with his Massey-Ferguson 390 at Ballymacwilliam, Barryroe; young Paul Kingston checks the colostrum level in the milk on the family farm near Skibbereen and his father William Kingston with a day old calf; a farmer near Timoleague ploughs a field in preparation to sow barley; Level 6 agri student Jack O’Donovan from Kilbrittain on his farm placement with Mervyn Sullivan, Cashelmore Enniskeane; Jason Bryan of ValleyView Farm, Riverstick destoning and planting Rooster potatoes; Iona Bateman, Barryshall, Timoleague with her cobs, Bella and Winnie. (Photos: Denis Boyle, Martin Walsh, Anne Minihane, Andy Gibson and Peter O’Brien)

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021 SPONSORED CONTENT

GEA product was perfect for Liam Liam O’Donovan is a fifth-generation farmer from Clohane, Skibbereen. He has been in and around farms all his life and has seen first-hand the long hours that go into working on, and managing, a farm. With a young family at home, creating a better work life balance was key for Liam, and that is why three years ago he decided to install an external rotary milking parlour. GEA iFlow Rotary Designed in New Zealand for the Grass Based Farmer looking to maximises throughput, enabling the farmer to milk more cows with less labour, while also increasing performance. The rotary milking system can be designed according to the individual farmers’ needs. ‘I went for a 54 unit. Milking is much faster now, and labour is reduced’, says Liam. With over 300 cows, milking used to take over three hours. Now, since the installation of the rotary system, milking and washing up is down to an hour and a half. ‘I am saving three and a half hours a day. Over a year that is a lot. It has given me a better work life balance. I have more family time’, adds Liam. It’s not just the farmer who benefits. The rotary system is also more user-friendly for the livestock. ‘It’s better for the cows, and in turn for the milk. The cows have less time standing around on concrete and more time out in the field eating grass and lying down’. With reduced time spent in the milking parlour, Liam finds that it’s much easier to attract people to work now. ‘It’s much easier, even to get a relief milker, because they know it’s faster’. Choosing a GEA product was a no-brainer for Liam. His previous milking parlour was also a GEA, and it did 21 seasons. ‘It was quite trouble-free throughout that time, so I decided to stick with GEA. One big advantage is that they provided their own fitters so if I ever have any question, I can call the

Liam O’Donovan milking at the farm in Clohane near Skibbereen.

fitter and they can talk me through it over the phone’. Since installation, Liam won the Best Protein Production Category at the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards in 2018. ‘There’s nothing extra or fancy with it. It’s very easy to use and easy to train in someone to use it, even if they have never used a rotary system before’. Making the family farm more attractive for the next generation is key for keeping them interested, and Liam says the rotary system has a big part to play in this. ‘Because it is very user-friendly, they are more inclined to help out. My wife and children all help on the farm. They are well able to milk and use the rotary system’, concludes Liam. GEA iFlow Rotary are Engineered and designed in New Zealand for the Irish grass based farmer. Ergonomically Designed for Farmer Comfort and optimum Cow Flow. For more information contact us today Roy Clarke 087 6813268 www.gea.com

(Photo: Anne Minihane)

Liam and Dolores O’Donovan with their children Emma, Ruby, Annie and Eve on their farm. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

The GEA rotary milking parlour in full swing at Liam O’Donovan’s farm. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

GEA Milking Parlor has many advantages When Innishannon farmer Nigel Daunt converted his family farm from sucklers to dairy in 2017, he wanted a milking system that was simple and functional. That is why he chose a GEA Milking Parlor. He started out with a modest size unit with intentions of later expanding. ‘I started with an eight-unit in 2017. Last year I went up to a 20-unit’, says Nigel. Nigel chose a Herringbone Parlor and says that he is very happy with it. ‘It is very reliable. It is basic and user-friendly. It is very easy to operate and that’s exactly what we wanted when we were starting out’. Although the Daunts’ farm is still quite new to dairy farming, Nigel had gained much experience working on dairy farms in Ireland and New Zealand before going into partnership with his parents. After the conversion, he went on to be crowned the Overall Winner at the Carbery Milk Quality Awards in 2019, as well as being a finalist at the 2020 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. From his time working in other milking parlours, he can see that the GEA system has lots of advantages. ‘From what I’ve seen, the components are stronger on the GEA system. The stall work seems stronger. If I need anything, I can get parts locally’. The real deciding factor for the Daunt family was that the GEA Milking Parlor came with IQ milking clusters. These are designed following the natural structure of the cow’s udder. With four guide chambers, the milk flows directly to the outlet, maximising milk quality, making the milking process faster, and it is much gentler for the cow. The milk from each quarter is kept separate so there is no threat of teat-to-teat cross contamination. With just under 100 cows, milking takes Nigel about an hour. He says the whole process is more efficient thanks to the swing arm that he got installed.

Nigel and the iQ Cluster

‘The swing arm makes everything faster and efficient. It is a very neat parlour’, adds Nigel. The SwingOver increases throughput, while saving time. Its key feature is the 1 for 2 principle, meaning that the milking arms, clusters and control devices are mounted above the milking pit, with each serving two milking stalls simultaneously. The system alternates sides, milking a cow on one side while the next animal is left into the other. With a flick of a wrist, the cluster can be swung over to the opposite side and milking commences. GEA EuroClass 800 parlours are Engineered in Germany for the Irish Farmer. Ergonomically Designed for Farmer Comfort and optimum Cow Flow. For more information contact us today Paul 087 4432141 or Richard 087 1429956 www.gea.com

Nigel Daunt and Family at their farm in Co. Cork

Euroclass 800 Parlour Engineered for the Irish Grassland Farmer.

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

FRS Network Celebrates over 40 years serving farmers needs in West Cork FRS Farm Relief ’s core business is supplying trained and experienced staff to farmers to meet both their short term and more permanent farm staffing needs. Along with general farm work and milking their specialised services include; Hoof Care, Freeze Branding, and Dehorning. There are over 1,000 FRS operators throughout the country operating from their 14 local offices nationwide. www.frsfarmrelief.ie FRS Fencing is a professional contract fencing business, which is focused on Farm fencing at its core, but has branched into residential, Industrial, security, sporting and recreational industries and also operates a very significant retail fencing business with stores throughout the country. www.frsfencing.ie FRS in Bandon operates a Farm Relief Services and Fencing business at the Mart Centre. Keep your eye out for the new signs that will proudly mark the FRS business in Bandon over the coming weeks. FRS Network is the umbrella company of FRS Farm Relief, FRS Fencing, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch and Turas Nua, which all work within the co-operative ethos to provide the people and services people need, when they need them. FRS is a good news story of a co-operative organisation that began deeply rooted in the rural farming community and has evolved and diversified into services in clear response to community needs. They took innovative and proactive moves to bring services to the rural community to enrich their lives and make their businesses more efficient.

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Carbery Carbery Macra na Feírmena News Macra Feírme Gillian Moore

Breeding Life Into Your Herd For Over 20 Years

Kate O’Donovan

LITTLE did we all think, that a year on, we would still be holding our Macra meetings and events virtually. However, in saying that, most of the region’s clubs and members have stuck together and made the most of the situation.

Mizen to Malin Over the past number of weeks, clubs have been participating in a 40-day walking challenge. Members were tasked with walking from Mizen Head to Malin Head and back, a total of 1,200km while keeping within their 5km restrictions. A number of teams have already passed the finishing line but teams are encouraged to keep up the good work and continue to step it out until March 28th.

Exercise classes The National Competitions Committee teamed up with Ballinadee siblings Christine and Jerry O’Neill to provide free 40-minute exercise classes during the month of March. The classes take place on Monday evenings via Zoom and include a mix of cardio and toning exercises. It is great to see so many members getting involved in this initiative.

Giving back Community involvement has always been at the forefront of the Carbery Macra region. In recent weeks, Bantry Macra club organised a virtual charity fun run in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House. Well done to all who participated and donated. Over €1,000 was raised for this very worthy charity. Meanwhile, Caheragh Macra club hosted a virtual ‘All Things Irish’ quiz in aid of West Cork Rapid Response in which clubs from all corners of the country took part. Congratulations to Barryroe’s team who were the winners on the night.

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The Carbery Young Farmers Development Group are running a spring time photo competition for the month of March. Photos can be sent to the YFDG Facebook page and will be judged by past members at the end of the month. Firstplace will receive €100 while second place will receive €50.

Presidential elections The candidates for the 38th president and vice president of Macra na Feirme have been announced. John Keane from Co. Laois, a member of Devil’s Bit Macra in North Tipperary, and Daniel Long from South Tipperary will battle it out for the position of president. Two female candidates, Aine McCarthy from Imokilly and Elaine Houlihan from Kilmallock, are in the running for the Muster vice president role. A series of hustings have taken place virtually and ballot papers have been issued to clubs. All at Carbery Macra extend their best wishes to the four candidates.

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Ballinadee siblings Christine and Jerry O’Neill are giving free 40-minute exercise classes during the month of March. 29


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Don’t ignore the issues of succession and inheritance

By Tom Curran MOST farmers think that they interact with succession at two occasions in their lives: when taking over the farm and when passing it on. However this is not the case. Succession is not about farm transfer, it is about the gradual transfer of management and decision making responsibilities in the day to day running of the farm. In practice, it’s like growing up on the farm and learning to do routine tasks, getting good at them, and then moving on to making bigger decisions about the future of the farm, being trusted by your parents to take responsibility for routine jobs on the farm and moving on to take over management completely. The pace at which this process takes place varies greatly and depends very much on the personalities involved and the family circumstances. Inheritance is an entirely different matter. It is about the actual legal transfer of the farm assets in a life-time gift or through a

Making/updating a will

will on death. Succession and inheritance together are vital processes that every farm family goes through during their lives. Succession can be pictured as a ladder and it is important to be aware that every farm family is somewhere on the ladder, be it on

The most important piece of advice anyone can give you in relation into succession and inheritance is to make sure you have a will made that is up to date and relevant to your current circumstances. If you take

‘A will should be made as soon as you reach a stage in life where you own assets such as land, a house, livestock and machinery’ the lower rungs starting out in farming or on the higher rungs on the point of farm transfer. The lifecycle of the development of the farm as an income generating business and the lifecycle of the farm family are intertwined and impact on each other at all stages of the cycle.

nothing else away from this article than to go and see your solicitor to make or update your will, it will have been a great success. It is frightening how many farmers and people in general do not have a will made. So what is a will? It is a legal document that outlines where and to whom any assets that you own go after you die. 30

When should you make a will? A will should be made as soon as you reach a stage in life where you own assets such as land, a house, livestock, machinery, shares etc. The list is endless. So it doesn’t matter whether you are 25 or 75 or anything in between, you should make a will. In the event of a death where no will is made, the rules of intestacy come into play. This means that without a will you effectively relinquish any control to the state to decide where your assets go in the interests of all interested parties. This situation almost always causes tension and rows and in terms of farming can often put the actual farm operator in a very vulnerable position.

Succession planning The number of farm families that actually plan for succession is in the minority. It is a critical process to take the time out and discuss initially at family level. The extent of this discussion at any point in time depends on the stage of life that the farm family are


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming There are also very good reliefs to be availed of if people go about the process early enough. Careful planning and good advice from a tax specialist is required to make best use of the reliefs. This is where good communication between the agricultural advisor, the accountant and solicitors is required to achieve the best outcome.

at. Succession planning is not just about the farming successor but must involve the entire family. The Teagasc booklet “Farm Succession & Transfer Guide” is very useful guide in this respect.

Building your succession and inheritance team The first place to start is with your spouse or partner and then involve all other family members as the need arises. There are plenty of professional people who can help you with succession and inheritance issues. Be careful that you do not get confused between them all which can happen easily as you try to get your head around what is involved. The trick is to go about it early enough to give yourself time to absorb the advice you are being given and that it is not a big rush in the end. This can lead to bad decisions. Many people fall into what I would call ‘the 35th birthday trap.’ That is the farming successor is 35 next week or next month and there is panic to get the farm transferred to avoid stamp duty. The key here is to get your team of professionals working together to get the best outcome from family, legal and taxation perspective for you and your family. You need a good accountant who is an expert on capital taxation and a solicitor who is also expert on legal matters and stamp duty. You also need your Teagasc advisor or consultant to work through the implications for the farm and

What about when a farming company is involved?

The number of farm families that plan for succession is in the minority, but it’s critical.

Many farmers have taken the option of setting up a company to farm through so there may be additional issues to be aware of here. A handover of the farm business may now involve the handover of two major assets – the land and the shares in the farming company. Some of the normal reliefs that apply on the transfers of farm assets also apply to companies but there are differences. So again, good taxation advice is required here.

Contact your local Teagasc advisor for more advice on partnership and succession farm partnerships.

the various EU scheme related issues which may also have tax implications.

Partnerships & succession farm partnerships

What are the potential tax costs on the transfer?

These are a good business model to formally involve the farming successor in the running of the farm business and there is a potential tax credit of €25,000 over a five year period where there is a definite succession plan in place.

There are three taxes concerned with farm transfer: • Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) • Stamp Duty (SD)

• Thomas Curran is the Teagasc Regional Manager for Cork West covering the Clonakilty, Macroom and Skibbereen offices.

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Farm reps to meet Tánaiste for urgent Mercosur talks THERE has been a lot of commentary about the EU’s trade deal with the Mercosur bloc lately, with a number of countries voicing concerns about Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental credentials, particularly in the Amazon rainforests. The Portuguese presidency – with its historical ties with the Latin American country – had high hopes of advancing the trade accord during its mandate, which runs until the end of June. But countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands say they will not ratify the deal until there are firm commitments included on deforestation and climate change. Rose O’Donovan, The Southern Star’s Brussels’ correspondent, has the story

Protocol on deforestation and climate in EU-Mercosur deal THE Commission’s Trade Department is mulling an additional protocol on deforestation and climate change in the EU-Mercosur bilateral trade deal. Sources indicate that the exact format – protocol, political declaration or annex – has not yet been decided. ‘Different options are still on the table, while there is no timeline,’ they say, as Brussels is coming under increased pressure from a number of capitals to include additional environmental requirements. At a virtual Foreign Affairs Council on March 2nd, French Trade Minister Franck Riester told journalists that the trade pact with Mercosur ‘should not be rushed.’ He was clear that Paris would only ratify the deal if Brazil signed up to commitments on deforestation. ‘We don’t just want political declarations, we want guarantees that are objective, quantifiable, measurable and that they are actually checked, verified and quantified.’ Lisbon is keen to press ahead with the ratification process during its tenure, but Foreign Minister August Santos Silva flagged a note of caution at the informal meeting when he conceded that ‘clarifications’ on sustainable development were ‘feasible.’ Speaking to The Southern Star recently, DG TRADE Director (The Americas, Agriculture & Food Safety) Rupert Schlegelmilch said that Mercosur partners ‘have subscribed to the idea of adding an additional piece … to get this deal ratified.’ When it comes to ratification in Europe, ‘things will have to change on the ground.’ The additional protocol ‘will have to focus on some of the concerns raised’ such as deforestation and the effect on climate. The Mercosur countries ‘are willing to see what can be done to give more assurances’ that the objectives of the agreement contribute to a sustainable world. When asked what form the additional requirements would take, the senior official said that would ‘depend on what we can agree with our Mercosur partners.’ It does not make sense to have ‘lofty declarations with no teeth and no clout,’ he elaborated, but ‘to be convincing,’ it would ‘most likely be legally binding’ in line with international law. But the former Head of the EU Delegation to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris, was ‘very clear’ that threatening sanctions was not the way forward. He recalled that sustainability commitments are already included in the bilateral agreement such as implementation of the Paris climate accord, not lowering standards and respecting the environment.

IFA president Tim Cullinan told The Southern Star that a ratified deal ‘would leave the high value European beef steak market at the mercy of beef from Mercosur that has a lower cost of production because it doesn’t have the same standards of traceability and environmental protection as the EU.’ Commenting more globally, the chief negotiator on the EU-Mercosur itself, reiterated that the deal with the four Latin American countries – Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – was a ‘huge opportunity,’ and regretted that it is often ‘presented as a threat.’

‘The additional protocol “will have to focus on some of the concerns raised” such as deforestation and the effect on climate. The Mercosur countries “are willing to see what can be done to give more assurances”’ But one thing is clear, the two negotiating teams ‘will not open the deal again’ as ‘that would lead to all sorts of demands, also from the other side.’

Commission ‘will keep an eye on beef market’ Under the provisions of the bilateral trade deal, the Commission has agreed that the four Latin American countries could export 99,000 tonnes of the beef to the EU, sparking outcry from Irish farm groups in particular. When asked how the Commission would keep an eye on the beef market to make sure it is not impacted too much, a 32

spokesperson said the EU has ‘reconciled the need to make meaningful concessions to our partners with the need to safeguard the interests of European farmers.’ This was achieved by using, what are referred to as, Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs), ‘which allow imports at preferential tariff rates up to a limited volume.’ TRQ volumes in EU free trade agreements ‘are always carefully calibrated to take account of conditions in the relevant agricultural market. This agreement is no exception.’ Officials describe the market opening for beef under the Mercosur agreement as ‘very limited and only represents a small fraction of EU consumption (1% of the market).’ They refer to ‘strong safeguards,’ which mean “that the EU can take action if it determines that beef imported under a TRQ is causing or threatens to cause a serious injury to the EU beef sector.’ The Commission is closely monitoring market developments in the beef sector in relation to Mercosur and beyond, and will take appropriate measures if and when the situation so requires, officials outline. In terms of the next steps, the text of the bilateral trade agreement is currently undergoing a process of legal revision. Once finalised, it will be translated into all EU languages. Only then can the Commission submit its proposals for signature and conclusion of the agreement to the Council and the European Parliament. So it is still too early to estimate anything on timing.

IFA calls on Dublin to reject the deal The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has called on the Irish government to reject the EU-Mercosur deal as it stands, saying a duty-free quota of 99,000 tonnes for beef is not adequate protection for the vulnerable EU beef sector. There may well be sectors that stand to gain from Mercosur


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming ‘but the beef sector is not one of these,’ IFA President Tim Cullinan stated this week. Speaking to The Southern Star, the pig farmer from Toomevara, Co Tipperary, said a ratified deal ‘would leave the high value European beef steak market at the mercy of beef from Mercosur that has a lower cost of production because it doesn’t have the same standards of traceability and environmental protection as the EU.’ The floated protocol on deforestation and climate change could only be described as ‘sticking plaster on the real problem … as under the current Brazilian government it is difficult to see any real change in practice.’ Commission officials are paying ‘scant regard for our beef farmers who farm in a vulnerable sector,’ he outlined, wondering how the Commission can ‘say to a European beef farmer that EU and Mercosur farmers will operate on a level playing field when it comes to trade.’ He concluded: ‘We are not looking for compensation because the market should never be left deteriorate to such a level. With the demographic that exists among livestock farmers, it will be a struggle to attract a younger generation into livestock farming if the EU continues to expose the sector to visible threats without taking decisions that support the wellbeing of an essential generation of livestock farmers.’ Farm group representatives are scheduled to meet with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar after Easter to discuss the latest developments.

• Rose O’Donovan is the Editor-in-Chief of the Brussels-based agricultural publication AGRA FACTS

Valdis Dombrovskis THE man in charge of these international trade deals is Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. The Latvian politician took over the reins from Ireland’s Phil Hogan, following his resignation following ‘golfgate’ last summer. In August 2020, when the story broke, there was talk that Dublin wanted to hold onto the trade brief, with Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney floated as an obvious ‘fit’. This was never going to happen, and Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen made sure of it. Instead, she ordered a reshuffle and extended Dombrovskis’ portfolio (An Economy that Works for People), which already encompassed a number of economic files to trade. Von der Leyen siphoned off the briefs on Financial Stability and Financial Services and gave them to Ireland’s new Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, while Dombrovskis retained the Capital Markets Union. The name was relatively new in Irish circles. So who is he exactly? Previously, he served as Latvian Prime Minister (March 2009-January 2014), the country’s Finance Minister (November 2002-March 2004) and as an MEP for the New Era Party from June 2004 until May 2009. In fact, Dombrovskis resigned as Prime Minister on November 27th, 2013 following the collapse of the roof at the Maxima shopping centre in the Zolitūde neighbourhood of Riga, resulting in the deaths of 54 people, including three rescue workers, and injuries to a further 41 people. At the time, he said that a new government was needed with strong support in Parlia-

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ment after the tragedy. Born in the capital Riga to a family with Polish roots, the 49-year-old is highly political with the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the same political grouping of the likes of Angela Merkel and Fine Gael, particularly in the context of the Baltic States, but is not really viewed as a heavy-hitter at the Commission table. Even with his extended portfolio, neither is he seen as a key player on Brexit issues, which directly impacts the Irish economy. Commentators would broadly agree that Ireland lost a key player in the European capital with Phil Hogan’s resignation, someone who understood the intricacies of the relationship with Northern Ireland, the Irish economy and the broader agri-food industry. When Dombrovskis’ team were asked if he plans to travel to Ireland, the answer was ‘yes absolutely.’ He was already set to travel just before the lockdown started a year ago. ‘He would be very open to discussing trade matters with the farming community during this visit,’ a spokesperson added. Now that should be interesting …

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Cultivating local relationships SOME widely read columnists have recently turned their attention to the decisions of Ulster Bank to exit the Irish market and of Bank of Ireland to close over 100 branches across the island. As a result, the credit union movement has been singled out for favourable comment, and in particular, the credit union farm loan product Cultivate. A total of 30 credit unions in Ireland now offer the Cultivate farm loan product. Bantry Credit Union is the only credit union in West Cork that operates under the Cultivate brand. One columnist even noted how, in most bank branches today, getting to the counter is like getting into the sacristy from the back of the church! Time and again, we meet farmers who echo these sentiments. It’s one of the main reasons for the success of the Cultivate loan product. Because Cultivate credit unions are holding onto and nurturing everything that bank head offices are ditching: spending time with our customers, meeting them face-to-face, listening to them, trying to

Environment Edge podcast launched

Finbarr O’Shea is Manager of Bantry Credit Union and a Board Member of Collaborative Finance CGL, the corporate entity behind the Cultivate farm loan brand. He is also Chair of the National Cultivate Marketing Group.

A NEW environment podcast has been launched by Teagasc and adds to its existing suite of enterprise and research podcasts. The Environment Edge will focus on challenges and opportunities in agriculture. Presented by Cathal Somers and Deirdre Glynn from Teagasc, this podcast will bring the latest information, science and opinion on farm sustainability. For episodes and information from the Environment Edge, visit the show’s page at: www. teagasc.ie/environmentedge. There are three ways to listen to the podcast: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts; Subscribe on Spotify; or you can listen by clicking on https://www.teagasc.ie/environmentedge/ Teagasc offer a full suite of Podcasts such as the Dairy Edge, Beef Edge, Ovicast, Pig Edge, Tillage Edge, Environment Edge and the Research Field which can be accessed on the website www.teagasc.ie/podcasts.

solve their problems and meet their needs. And we do it all locally. Every decision in a credit union is made locally, within that credit union. Local loans officers have the discretion to take local circumstances into account. We don’t run algorithms or credit scores to decide on loan applications. We use reality – the farmer’s financial circumstances, personal circumstances, needs, track record.

Area Sales; Andrew Nash, 087 9445947 Local Service; Colm McCarthy, 086 8241265

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming SPONSORED CONTENT

Farm Structures – All your questions answered Farm business structure is crucial to ensure you are working as effectively as possible while minimising tax. Gearoid Condon, Partner at ifac discusses the most frequent questions asked about Partnerships.

Should I register the Partnership? Registering provides certain tax benefits in relation to Stock Relief. Collaborative farming structures have a grant available for setup of a Registered Partnership.

Why choose a Partnership? The social aspect of a Partnership may be attractive in addition to the tax advantages as profits can be spread among partners.

Once registered, you can then transfer to the Succession Farm Partnership Register which provides an incentive of €5,000 for up to five years during the Succession Agreement term or until the successor(s) reach age 40.

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You need to think carefully about whether you are suited to Partnership and whether you and your potential partner can work well together. Legal and tax advice are crucial as forming a Partnership has far-reaching consequences. Should I draw up a Partnership Agreement? Yes. The Partnership Agreement sets out the rules of the partnership and will determine how assets are distributed should the Partnership end.

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Call us today to create your Succession Plan.

What are the thresholds when transferring to my son or daughter? Your child is entitled to €335,000 of a lifetime gift and an inheritance up to the same amount. However, any assets previously transferred (e.g. a site or shares) will reduce this.

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021 WEBINAR

INVITATION You are invited to our webinar on

IRISH AGRICULTURE POST BREXIT AND ITS IMPACT ON TRADE on Wednesday 7 April 2021 at 8pm. This is a great opportunity to get insights from leading experts in the industry on agriculture post Brexit.

MC FOR THE NIGHT:

OPENING ADDRESS:

Helen Carroll, RTÉ

Rachel Naughton, Head of SME, AIB

GUEST SPEAKERS: Simon Coveney,

Fine Gael TD & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

John Jordan, CEO, Ornua

Donal Whelton, Head of Agriculture, AIB

Want to join us on the night? Email shane.p.mccarthy@aib.ie to register

Wednesday 7 April at 8pm

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· ON FARM ADVICE AND SUPPORT · FERTILIZER AND CHEMICALS · ANIMAL FEEDS AND MINERALS · GENERAL HARDWARE · SILAGE COVERS AND BALE PLASTIC · FENCING, GATES AND WATER TROUGHS · SOLID FUEL AND BOTTLE GAS · HORSE FEEDS, DOG FEED, HAYLAGE AND WOOD SHAVINGS · GRASS, MAIZE AND CEREAL SEED

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

ICMSA welcomes opening of Dairy Beef Calf Programme THE chairperson of West Cork ICMSA has welcomed the opening of the Dairy Beef Calf Programme by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine. Eileen Calnan said the programme – which ICMSA had put forward and lobbied for – was a decisive step in the right direction, but would clearly need to be expanded and developed in future years. The payment of €20 per head is payable on dairy beef calves born after January 1st, 2021 which are weighed with the minimum age of weighing being 12 weeks old and the weights to be submitted by November 1st, 2021 to ICBF. Farmers must apply by the closing date of April26th, 2021 and the payment is subject to a maximum of 20 calves per farmer. The scheme is available to dairy farmers and farmers who purchase dairy calves. Given the growth in the dairy herd, there is an increased availability of dairy beef calves and the programme recognises ICMSA’s argument for better integration between the dairy and beef sectors. The

West Cork ICMSA chairperson Eileen Calnan. need to be implemented. But today does represent progress and this announcement is a welcome start by the Department who have already indicated a willingness to develop this programme in future years. It’s a relatively short turnaround to the closing date of April 26th, 2021 so farmers

Clonakilty woman noted that with the returns from dairy beef production more positive than suckler beef production, it was in everyone best interest to develop a strong dairy beef calf programme. ‘ICMSA had proposed a more ambitious programme which we still believe will

ICMSA has represented farm families from West Cork and all over Ireland at local, national and European level with diligence, integrity and an emphasis on finding solutions to their problems that has been our trademark for over 70 years. We’re the specialist family dairy farm organisation with deep roots in Cork and an unrivalled record of sound analysis and a focus on farm incomes. We are organised by - and work for farmers. And only farmers. Chairperson of West Cork ICMSA: Eileen Calnan, Clonakilty, 086-2034998 Deputy Chairperson of West Cork ICMSA: John O’Mahony, Bantry, 087-8500952 ICMSA Head Office: John Feely House, Dublin Road, Limerick. 061-314677, or info@icmsa.ie Please also look at our website at www.icmsa.ie

37

should consider their options and make their application before the closing date. We think that this scheme will be popular and possibly over-subscribed so the Minister must ensure that sufficient funding is made available to keep the payment of €20 per head.’ said Ms Calnan.


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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Crossword

Here’s something a little different! Test your wordpower with this agri-themed crossword Across

1. Bath. (3) 3. Dairy product for the unmarried elite? (6,5) 8. New; not yet utilised. (6) 9. Speed. (8) 10. Obligations to pay. (5) 11. Summer dish. (5) 13. From what we hear, it’s healthy. (5) 15. Canine found in the middle of a dartboard? (7) 16. Where in Cork to find the king a broken trunk. (7) 20. The flat area is not ornate. (5) 21. Parts of the saw you might find in your mouth. (5) 23. Unit of land within a farm. (5) 24. Dairy equipment is not permissible when you mass-produce like this, it seems. (5,3) 25. Plant that is excellent at fixing nitrogen. (6) 26. The clay Bill Key disturbed is here in West Cork. (11) 27. Produce an egg. (3)

Down 1. Both trundle around what creates a lightning strike. (11) 2. Wild flower with a sad ring to it? (8) 3. Plant them to grow crops. (5) 4. Distribute or complain. (4,3) 5. Cuts of meat contain many beer ingredients. (5) 6. Capable of being eaten. (6) 7. Turn up some vegetable for a month. (3) 12. Classic race involving asinine competitors? (6,5) 13. Exclusive story concerning what may be fitted to a tractor. (5) 14. I darn to create a channel. (5) 17. Great disturbance. (8) 18. The cactus I cut up is corrosive. (7) 19. Put more diesel in the tank. (6) 22. Convenient. (5) 23. Young female horse. (5) 24. Will you find corn on this horse? (3)

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Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, West Cork Dairy Farmer of the Year, sponsored by AIB, pictured with four of her five children, Leanne (7), Conor (6), Louise (4) and Daniel (8). Missing from the photo is Caroline’s daughter Katelyn (14).

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The 2021 Awards will open later this year so start thinking about who to nominate. Keep an eye on The Southern Star’s Farming pages, southernstar.ie and our social media for awards updates 43

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    -       Certificate  -       Green  Course           -      Course available in West Cork starting      -           in September 2021           Part-Time Option Available  -   -        - -  Further details available by contacting the   Teagasc Advisory Office in Macroom on 026 41604   -   -  -  - - Thomas Curran - Regional Manager - Cork West   Thomas Curran - Regional Manager - Cork West - Thomas Curran - Regional Manager Thomas Curran - Regional Manager--Cork CorkWest West

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09/03/2021 12:56


Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Nitrate stats discrepancy is causing problems A DISCREPANCY between how the Department of Agriculture is calculating nitrates figures, compared with the way farmers are compiling them, could cause significant problems for Beam Scheme participants. That’s according to ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham who said the ICSA understands that while farmers have been led to believe that nitrates figures are calculated on a daily basis by the Department, this is not actually the case. Mr Graham said the Department have been calculating figures by selecting one date per calendar month, and extrapolating the figure given to farmers from that one day. ‘This has never been communicated to farmers who might assume it’s a daily calculation. As such, the two sets of figures will likely never match,’ he added/ ‘We know that thousands of farmers are struggling to meet the 5% target and this uncertainty in how the figures are being calculated will only serve to exacerbate the myriad difficulties there are with the scheme.’ ‘It is beyond comprehension that the Department should tell farmers that the onus is on them to calculate their figures but did not advise them on what method to use. The result is that with different methods being used, different results are being produced. The Department will no doubt insist their own figures are the right ones, so where does that leave farmers?’ he asked. He said it was also his understanding that Teagasc advisors and private advisors have also been blindsided by the revelation. ‘This further compounds the problem that the Department can only provide figures six weeks in arrears. So a farmer doesn’t even have up to date figures when it comes to trying to meet the 5% target,’ Mr Graham said. ‘It again demonstrates that the Department will be on very shaky ground if it tries to impose severe penalties on farmers who miss the 5% target especially if the margin is tight.’

Edmund Graham of the ICSA.

Monitoring cows through the ear Dont just take our word for it... ‘CowManager has helped my herd’s fertility by giving me accurate heat alerts. I have been able to improve the timing of AI this past spring, and this has been a major factor in improving my conception to first service, which is at 78%. The herd has a 94% pregancy rate after a breeding season of 8 weeks of 100% AI. Fertility has always been a priority on my farm, and CowManager has helped me fine tune my system’

Smart tag technology Monitors your cow’s health, rumination, fertility and temperature

Raymond Goggin 120 cows, Bandon, Cork

‘We initially wanted a system that would allow us monitor our heifers on an out farm, but when we started researching our options, we saw the benefits CowManager could bring to our herd as a whole. We found that CowManager was unique in the marketplace. Its health, rumination and temperature monitoring mean that it is in a league of its own. Managing fresh cow’s health in a block calving system can be difficult, but CowManager makes it easy. It’s like an extra man watching the cows all the time. CowManager is the most efficient investment we have made on our farm in past number of years.’

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Barry O’Mahony & Family 200 cows, Berrell Farm, Cork

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Brian Shorten: 087 167 2248 brian@wwsireland.com


West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

Brothers Gavin and Killian Moloney ploughing near Garrettstown recently.

(Photo: Denis Boyle)

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Spring 2021 | The Southern Star | West Cork Farming

Scan image QR code to see how a milk tank is made

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West Cork Farming | The Southern Star | Spring 2021

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