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Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
Welcome to our Spring Farming Supplement Recent conditions making life very difficult for farmers BY BILLY BROWNE We in Topic Newspapers Ltd are pleased to bring you our Spring Farming Supplement which is available in the Westmeath Topic, Athlone Topic, Offaly Topic and Meath Topic. We thank our advertisers and contributors and we would ask
you to support our advertisers as they are well set to help you with all your requirements. The Arctic winds that are sweeping across the country at the moment are making conditions very difficult for our farmers. Heavy rain and sub zero temperatures have forced farmers to re-house their stock.
In the midlands while conditions have been difficult we probably have escaped some of the worst conditions in comparison with what the farming community have suffered in the north and south of the country. We hope normal tempera-
tures will soon return, because at the moment grass growth is very poor and farmers are not buying in as a result. Dairy farmers are also hit as milk yields are down. Some farmers are finding it difficult at the moment to access credit, while ICMSA President, John Comer
IFA president emphasises importance of family farm at meeting in this region At a recent meeting in this area the President of the IFA, John Bryan, outlined clearly that these are crucial times for the future of the family farm and outlined how important the ongoing CAP negotiations and other issues were to the future of Irish farming. During a presentation to the local IFA in County Roscommon Mr. Bryan described EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolas as “a communist from Romania” who doesn’t understand the importance of the family farm.” He also emphasised the importance of ongoing national co-financing as a part of the funding process and the need to help the productive farmer to continue in that vein. He maintained that Mr Ciolas hadn’t any concept of the family farm. “What they have in Romania is collective farming. Mr Ciolas is in favour of regionalisation, but regionalisation is a dangerous thing, which could catch out the more intensive farmer who has made a huge investment in his business,” the IFA president noted. The main topic of discussion during the meeting was the current talks on reform of the EU Common Agriculture Policy in which the IFA is seeking a rural development package that supports vulnerable sectors and regions. He said that “2013 will be a critical year for deciding the future of the family farm. The decisions made in these few months, and the EU Bud-
get and CAP will set the policy framework for the next seven years to 2020. They are very difficult and complex negotiations and we’re fighting for a budget worth €11 billion over the next seven years to the Irish economy. That is why 20,000 farmers demonstrated outside the Dail last winter, the largest farming protest seen in Dublin for over a decade to deliver a clear message to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Simon Coveney that the right outcome will underpin Ireland’s potential for growth in farming and food”. “However, the wrong outcome will completely undermine food 2020 and destroy many thousands of family farms. Farmers will hold the Taoiseach and the Minister directly responsible for the outcome of those negotiations.” He said that as early as last summer there were problems for farmers with the weather, increasing costs and decreasing profits, and “incomes were under serious pressure…..throughout the year the IFA made it clear to Mr. Coveney that there was no scope to cut farm schemes and during the Autumn we met many FG TDs on this issue: then while the Minister had increased the growth targets for beef by 40% - yet in the Budget he substituted the suckler scheme thereby undermining the biggest pillar of our beef strategy and the Minister’s decision was wrong.” Farmers are extremely concerned that EU countries could transfer up to 15% of their rural development bud-
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IFA President, John Bryan, knows there will be changes as a result of CAP negotiations.
get to direct payments in Pillar 1, which covers the Single Farm Payment. Transferring money from Pillar 2 to Pillar 1 avoids the need for national co-financing. The president urged farmers to put pressure on their local TDs to ensure the government matched the 313 million euro proposed for Ireland in Pillar 2 programmes-schemes such as the Suckler Cow and Disadvantaged Area Schemes, which supported the development of rural areas. He pointed out that the proposal put forward to have a minimum payment – in this case to be about €196 per hectare, there would be some increase in payments while others would decrease, perhaps by between 10% and 33%. He estimated that of 5,600 farmers in Roscommon, 3,000 farmers would lose something and approximately 2,500 would gain from the proposals. One of his clear concerns was that by turning to what is termed the flattening model, a land-based method of assessment, that would not work to the benefit of the more active farmers, in effect costing them money. “We have to hold onto as much funding as possible. We are trying to ensure payment for the active farmer, the farmer who is willing to work; not the farmer who never built a shed or never bought a tractor. We have two major jobs: to secure the money in Brussels and make sure the Irish government co-finances the money,” Mr Bryan explained.
The IFA president outlined that Ireland’s Pillar 1 allocation was facing a cut of 3.3% while Pillar 2 funding would be cut by over 10%. “The first cut kicks in during October, the cuts are higher in Ireland than in other countries. The net contributors- the Germans, the British, the Dutch and the Danish- want to cut the agriculture budget but without consensus between the commission, the council and the parliament there won’t be a deal. We need to make the European taxpayer see that agriculture is important, that if they put money into agriculture, it will create employment,” he commented. On the issue of Greening, where as the word suggests there is an emphasis on environmental matters such as maintaining permanent grassland and crop diversification, and that would be conditional on some of the payments being received, he said farmers could manage that and meet regulations on matters such as permanent grassland and crop diversification. The organisation’s president acknowledged that it has been ‘a strange year’ weather-wise for farmers. “It was like summer this time last year and now we’re close to having a 12-month winter. The cost of food, feed and fertiliser has risen but grass is still three weeks away and that is putting huge pressure on farmers. There is need for transfer of fodder and we are talking to banks and co-ops about the need for flexibility.”
has called on Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to make an application to the EU Solidarity Fund to provide financial assistance to farmers. The IFA has asked co-ops, feed mills and banks to stand by their farmer customers at this time of stress for farmers.
As we know once soil temperatures increase, grass growth will recover very fast and we certainly look forward to this happening. We would ask you to look through this Supplement where you will find agricultural outlets who will make life a bit easier for you.
Substantial cuts in income of farmers, says ICMSA President Commenting on the agreement reached recently by the EU Farm Council, the President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), John Comer, said that a number of compromises had been reached that would certainly assist Ireland in addressing various anomalies but he said the reality that must be remembered is that farm families throughout the country are still facing substantial cuts to their payments. Mr. Comer said that it is also important that people realise that this agreement does not represent the ‘endgame’ of the process and that tripartite discussions between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission must now take place, leading to more
John Comer, President ICMSA. uncertainty for farmers, until agreement is reached which is expected in June. It is essential that the flexibilities secured are retained in the final agreement. The ICMSA President said that while the agreement will need careful analysis it
appears that useful flexibilities have been achieved, including the option of choosing 2012 as the base year, which should help to remove speculation from the land rental market. Provisions has also been made that provides alternatives to complete flattening of payments – which is a positive development. However, Mr. Comer said that there are major challenges ahead to structure an agreement that will take account of Irish concerns and he was adamant that the coupling proposal at 7% is a retrograde step and he also expressed his disappointment that Ireland does not have discretion on introducing an overall upper limit or ‘ceiling’on payments.
Topic Newspapers â€˘ 11 April, 2013
Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
It’s official: it is now ‘cool’ to be a farmer! BY MARGARET GRENNAN
It is now ‘cool’ to be a farmer...once upon a time and not so very long ago during the Celtic Tiger period sons and daughters of farmers were turning their backs on family farms and dreaming of wonderful lifestyles in cities and towns around Ireland, but now having an acre or two is considered a blessing in disguise. The future of farming appears to be a healthy one as more and more young people are now considering their options for a career in the industry. It is also understood that the numbers of young people seeking entry to agricultural college is on the increase. Westmeath County Councillor John Dolan, (FG), who farms near Athlone, told the monthly meeting of Westmeath County Council, that one of his own sons is now considering going to agricultural college. The Councillor was speaking during a debate on the future of rural Ireland. As reported in last week’s TOPIC CEDRA (Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas), the new Government Commission established to look in the future
Frankie Keena. economic development of rural Ireland, is chaired by former Kerry footballer, Pat Spillane. Director of Services, Mr. Barry Kehoe, in a briefing presentation on CEDRA to the Councillors, spoke of the challenges facing rural development and signalled that CEDRA has been established to look at those and also on possible opportunities up to 2025. Mr. Spillane and the Commission will have to have their report completed and delivered to the Minister for the Environment in September. Announcing that the period of Public Consultation is ongoing to April 30th, 2013, next, Mr. Kehoe
said they were hopeful there would be as many submissions as possible. Members of the public are urged to make submissions. Meanwhile, it was confirmed towards the conclusion of the debate on the issue that a submission on behalf of County Westmeath could be put together by the County Development Board, while the Councillors and WCC will also form part of that. The Councillors were also asked to come up with their submissions to be incorporated into the main submission from County Westmeath. Cllr. Mick Dollard, (Labour), believed that the County Development Boards had a role to play in this. He felt that the Westmeath County Development Board should form part of any submission made by the County Council to CEDRA going forward. There was mention of the mass and ongoing emigration from rural Ireland, while the lack of employment opportunities is also a matter of serious concern for families across the country, blame was laid at the door of the previous Fianna Fail-Labour Government. Cllr. Denis Leonard, (Labour), pointed the finger
Hoping the horsemeat problem has been solved for Irish agriculture BY BILLY BROWNE
As an ordinary consumer with an interest in farming from days gone by I am wondering has the horsemeat problem been solved. Can we be sure that its all sorted and that the minister has made sure that horsemeat will not raise its ugly head again in our food. 25 horses were presented at a horsemeat factory recently with falsified passports. This incident was brought to life when the authorities put in their own staff into the factory. If they had not done this what would have happened. The people I feel sorry for are the genuine farmers. They run a good ship and, of course, are tied up with so much red tape and officialdom that it must be very tough on them to see their reputation being destroyed in front of the eyes of the world. Obviously meat buyers will be anxious to buy quality stock from us now which is a good thing, but will everybody involved in the food chain do as they should. Money seems to be the be all and end all. Is this going to be the last time we will be shown up taking the various by roads around the rules to
make easy money. Farmers in this country work hard to make a living, they produce top quality food, milk, etc., but their good name is being attacked by people who are too greedy to go the normal routes of business and who want to increase their profits substantially. This is a serious wake-up call and needs to be addressed, and unless it’s taken very seriously and managed properly, where is the next scandal lurking. So government legislators, government officials, company directors, company employees, you must all share responsibility for seeing that things are as they should be. If they are not you should know about it, don’t turn the blind eye. Overall the scandal isn’t hugely different to that of the banking sector: an absence of regulation and a certain greed that seemingly saw corners being cut. There is one sense in which it has helped the local farmer – many consumers are finding it difficult to trust the multi-national selling large numbers of cheap burgers anymore and so they are turning to local butchers who are taking their supplies from reliable local farmers where
transparency is very clear. In the heel of the reel there are no less than four million domestic consumers of Irish meat, not to mention another 320 million consumers in Europe who have unfortunately saw the name “Ireland” tagged to the horsemeat issue. The burgers that Irish people now buy more of in their local butchers may be something more expensive that what they buy in the multiples, but at the end of the day they at least can be sure of what they are buying and its quality. Given the recent controversy there is perhaps a potential there for Irish farmers (and their butchers) to grow the market for their product based on its quality, and then perhaps upgrade that aspect even further in foreign markets by ensuring high quality, even if the cost is a little extra. Clearly great efforts must be made to ensure that this controversy is now firmly put aside through positive enforcement of regulation to ensure that people are pleased with the quality of Irish meat – and that they know where exactly it comes from. Hopefully these efforts are now in train.
of blame at the previous Government, citing the choices made when the country was progressing had come back to haunt the citizens. Agreeing with Cllr. Dollard’s point about the role of the County Development Board, Cllr. Leonard felt that Enterprise Ireland could also play a part, combined with the local authorities, vecs, and the transport policy grouping. Meanwhile, Cllr. Frankie Keena, (FF), made the point that one of CEDRA’s meetings should be held in Westmeath, as the whole Midland Region was a most important destination which needed to be driven forward.
ANALYSIS OF EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF RURAL AREAS? Emphasising the point that more young people are now looking at a future in agriculture or agri-based industries, Cllr. John Dolan, (FG), pointed out that the agricultural colleges were never as busy. Welcoming that development, the Councillor said one of his young sons is considering his third level education in agricultural college. The Councillor said he (himself)
had attended a meeting in Ballyhaise College in Cavan recently and he was so impressed by the facilities offered there. Labour Councillor Peter Keaney backed Cllr. Dolan’s remarks and described how many agricultural colleges have now “reinvented themselves.” However, he also felt there was an urgent need for an analysis of the educational needs of rural areas to be carried out. However, Cllr. Tom Allen, (FF), was adamant that nothing positive could be achieved to progress any part of Ireland until the banks and financial institutions starting back to basic lending facilities for people. From what he was hearing on the ground and in his travels across Ireland, the access to such banking facilities was still proving a major problem for businesses and employers, he continued, adding it was alright talking about progressing rural Ireland and he totally welcomed anything positive in that regard; but he felt pressure would have to be put on the lending institutions to open their doors to worthwhile and viable projects. “From what I am hearing all over the country lack of
John Dolan. access to finance still remains a problem to his day,” said Cllr. Allen, who is involved in the entertainment business as the country singer and artist TR Dallas. “Rural Ireland isn’t dead,” said Cllr. Kevin Boxer Moran, (Independent), who said that he had listened intently to the debate in The Chamber. “The way my esteemed colleagues here are talking one would think rural Ireland is dead. It’s not dead, and rural Ireland is fighting back,” Cllr. Boxer remarked, before making a plea for tax breaks for such areas. “At the moment, as we all know, there are a lot of government owned buildings lying idle all across the place, while entrepreneurs and those who have enterprise ideas cannot afford to pay
the high rents sought for other premises. I believe this is something that should be looked at immediately,” he continued, adding there was the possibility that such moves would assist with the creation of employment opportunities. Meanwhile, Westmeath County Manager, Mr. Danny McLoughlin, in acknowledging it was a very difficult time for families to live off farming. Farm families, he said, now have to make choices, the Manager said. In relation to assisting entrepreneurs, the Manager also felt that Westmeath County Council had played a positive role and had a good record as he spoke of how they had spent £1.5million on incubator units, and in its support for rural tourism.
Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
Warmer weather A TABOO SUBJECT WITHIN brings hopes of THE FARMING INDUSTRY grass growth The warmer weather predicted from last weekend was welcomed by all farmers across the midlands, bringing the prospect of spring grass growth starting at last for many farmers. The message from the weather people is encouraging after a difficult and costly farming winter. But before farmers push ahead with spreading fertiliser and sowing crops, they are asked to re-assess fodder supplies for livestock and to make any surplus available to neighbours who are short. Farmers are looking forward to temperatures rising. Higher temperatures promise resumption of grass growth, after the coldest March on record, except in the south and south-west where it was only the coldest March since 1962. A measure of the cost to farmers of the late spring came from Bank of Ireland Business Banking, confirming this week that overdraft balances among its farmer customers are about 15% highter in March compared to last year, due to extra feed needs, with more than 1,000 lending applications from farmers in the past month. The bank said the overdraft increase was in line with their expectations of the lasting effect of last summer’s difficult weather. Department of Agriculture figures show a 19% increase in cattle deaths in January and February. Entering March, milk deliveries for the year were 3.76% under quota. There is also delayed sowing of crops, which is likely to significantly reduce tillage farm output. Beef prices are buoyant, and dairy commodity prices are rising. But without the expected rise in average farm income for 2013, which these trends will bring, many farmers could be facing financial disaster. That’s the proof the Irish farmers cannot bank on predictable weather. Even the greenfield dairy farm created in Co. Kilkenny with the help of the Department of Agriculture, Glanbia, FBD Trust, the Irish Farmers Journal, and AIB has been buying bales of silage and hay for the milking cows. The run of very poor weather over the past year shows that it is a gamble to farm without a big reserve of winter feed for livestock. Irish farmers can depend more on reliable weather than New Zealanders, now enduring a serious drought; and Americans, still struggling with the effects of last year’s drought. Even our near neighbours suffer greater weather shocks. Temperatures fell to minus 12.5C in the Scottish Highlands last Sunday, and the Scottish government will spend £500,000 to help livestock producers dispose of animals lost in the severe weather. Farmers in Wales
and Northern Ireland also suffered major weatherrelated losses. At the other side of the world, the Climate Commission predicts “a significant increase” in droughts across important Australian agricultural areas which are major suppliers of food to Asian markets and the world’s second-largest exporter of wheat and third-largest shipper of raw sugar and beef. Food exporter countries with more temperate climates, like Ireland, must help to fill the gap when the big powers suffer weather set-backs. But farmers can’t take chances here either, especially with livestock. Every livestock farm should build up and hold a buffer store of winter feed. The way the weather is going, it would be no surprise if farmers end up feeding silage in May or June.
Winter feed Unfavourable weather conditions across 2012 led to varied costs rising throughout the country. Dr Tom Kelly, Director of Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc, advised farmers in this situation to take action and talk to their farm adviser and bank manager to work out a plan. He said: “In many cases, the farm is experiencing short term cash flow problems. This will recover when conditions improve as the underlying farm business is essentially sound.” Last year saw the warmest March on record for most of Ireland, with no frosts and daytime temperatures reaching above 10C on at least 25 days in the month. This year was a total contrast - the coldest in decades. Grain market Unusually cold temperatures across much of Europe have delayed spring sowings and winter crop development. With a late-growing season comes a much shorter growing season. And farmers have already started sowing in the hopes that the sun will come shining through. This means that they will be playing catch-up all year, with the question being, “will they catch up?”
Milk Quota Thankfully, due to the cooperative nature of milk farming, there is not much to worry about if you fall under quota, because the other farms in your co-op are there to balance it out. The problem comes with falling in over quota which could result in a costly fine. A fine that may even be more expensive than the milk that you supply. So by coming in over quota, you run the risk of paying the super-levy, which actually cancels out the money gained from your milk farming throughout the year. It is important to stay in touch with the other members of your co-op to ensure that everybody is on the right
track and stays beneath the quota. Many farmers took a risk this year, as they believed that Irish dairy farmers would not come above quota any time before 2015. This worked out well, as a lot of dairy farmers fell dramatically below quote. However, the balancing act can be difficult to maintain. Deputy Simon Coveney said, “We cannot allow a situation to develop where there will be a dramatic increase in milk production and a collapse in its price because we do not have the markets for it. That would be a disaster. This problem needs to be dealt with as part of a soft landing solution in terms of ending the quota system.” Austerity Due to the measures that the Irish government has put into play, banks and merchants will most likely not be extending further credit to farmers that may be falling behind on payments. It does no harm to ask, but it looks like strings are being pulled tighter and tighter in order to quickly find a way out of the crushing national debt. Again, help can be obtained from your local Teagasc, IFA, and MACRA offices; not in money perhaps, but in better planning and organisation for the future of your farm.
One in five people in Ireland will suffer from depression in their lives. The farming community is not immune to this. Throughout the industry’s ten thousand years plus, there is a certain taboo associated with depression in a job of physical labour. Farmers are finding it difficult to manage financially and to cope with increasingly vulnerable farming systems and the escalating pace of change and regulation. Teagasc have recently published findings regarding mental health in rural Ireland. The objective of their study was to explore male suicidal behaviour in a rural region of Ireland. There is much evidence to suggest that levels of satisfaction and quality of life remain high in the countryside generally. However, it is difficult for anyone to pinpoint the exact moment that depression sets in, and there is usually not just one cause. Stress since 2008, austerity measures have increasingly put pressure on farmers to be as quick and efficient with their workload as possible. There are farmers in Ireland that make far less than the minimum household wage; as low as €8,000 a year. Supermarkets have been dominating the produce market for some time, and since the recession this has only gotten worse for the farming community. By pro-
viding food and products that are cheaper, many shoppers find it more convenient to get everything in the one go without prior knowledge of where their food is coming from, and more importantly, what it went through getting here. With supermarkets pricing their food so low, farmers are left with no choice but to compete with each other to gain footholds in the market, thus reducing their income dramatically. Government also plays a part in this by fiercely regulating how a farmer sells his or her products, which leads to less independence. What was once the most independent business in the world has now had control taken from it. This lack of control can ultimately lead to thoughts of despair and worthlessness. Financial pressure is put on the farmer from many different angles. The slightest change to a number of different factors can have huge ramifications on a farmer’s stress levels. Be it market fluctuation, livestock disease, or bad weather leading to a poor harvest, uncertain returns, increasing input costs, huge debt and pressure from the banks; these are considerations that farmers have to take into account every day. Many farmers do not want to admit that there are any difficulties with the farm and view them as a sign of
weakness or failure. There are some farmers who are ready to pack their bags and leave the farm as it is. What can be done? It is clinically proven that talking to someone, to anyone, gives an immense relief to feelings of depression. There are many ways that depression can be treated, and not just with medication. There is support for the farming community with a clear objective of good mental health and well-being. The
major problem is an unwillingness to communicate. Depression is a flaw in chemistry, not character. It is very important to get out and start talking to people. It doesn’t matter who it is. Below are a list of groups dedicated to helping with depression and other mental health issues. www.aware.ie www.pieta.ie www.samaritans.org www.mentalhealthireland.ie www.1life.ie www.shineonline.ie
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Warming up IFA have said that in the past week or so, Ireland has gained a brief respite from adverse ground conditions which should allow some of the backlog of work on farms to be cleared and fertiliser spread for the prospect of grass growth next week with higher temperatures expected. John Bryan, IFA President, said, “The month of March was one of the coldest on record and farmers now need to push ahead with the spreading of fertiliser and the sowing of crops. The warmer weather that is predicted from next week-end on should finally see the start of grass growth, after a difficult and costly winter for farm families.” He also reminded co-ops, feed mills, and banks of their obligation to support their farmer customers and do everything to ensure adequate feed and cash flow is provided. “Commodity prices in dairy, beef, and lamb look set to remain strong for the year and farmers will use the improvement in their cash flow situation to clear their accounts. IFA also said, “The clear advice is to get some stock out as soon as ground conditions allow, and supplement them with concentrates at grass.” There is assistance in advice from the IFA and Teagasc to farmers who need help, and nobody should be afraid to seek out support.
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Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
Many changes in farming over the years BY BILLY BROWNE
Has farming changed much over the years or is it more or less the same as it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s? I was involved in the Farming business in those years and certainly I see the changes that have taken place looking at it now. In most counties farmers had a very big choice of agricultural merchants to deal
with. Those merchants provided a great service to the farmer and of course the farmer could match up the rates those merchants were charging and usually get very keen prices. Having said that, the farmer usually built up a relationship with the merchant and within reason would stay with the same firm year in year out. On a
lighter note it would on occasion prove to be a social occasion for the farmer to visit his merchant as many a football team, selector, referee, etc would be the subject of an indepth examination on a Monday following a local club game, or county game. It was obvious that the farmer or his friend in the co-op or agri business firm would have
done a far better job on the particular game in question. The number of outlets have now decreased dramatically and the smaller outlets have mostly been taken over by the large companies. Farmers always did a good job with their land, let it be dairying, cattle or tillage. Nowadays it has gone more scientific. The small farms have disappeared to a large degree, and larger holdings are the order of the day. I don't think its unfair to say that farming is
run now like any business. Administration and documentation play a big part nowadays. In those earlier years loyalty played a big part with the farming community as I’m sure it does today. From personal experience dealing with farmers in counties Kildare, Wicklow, Dublin, Offaly, Westmeath, farmers trusted his merchant and visa versa and it was an honourable business to be involved in. As the years moved on small changes appeared,
small buying groups became large buying groups. They were mostly made up of the bigger dairying and beef farmers. They ran their group very professionally and were made up of very honest, hard working people. As I look out at the farming scene now I see that after going through tough times for about sixteen years, farming has come back in a big way and its great to see it prospering. • A farmer from Lurgan won the lotto some years
ago and of course all his neighbours were curious to know what he was going to do with the money. He was very quick to point out that he was going to continue farming till it was all gone! Those days are gone and in a country struggling on most fronts at the moment farming is thriving, but of course it has its problems, and farmers are making money but, I’m sure, still doing the lotto!
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Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
Mullingar based Fintan Conway B.Agr.Sc.. B.Sc. Bus.IT writes for Topic Newspapers about the prospects for this year’s grain market. Fintan is Executive Secretary of the Irish Grain Committee.
Increased price volatility in Grain Market as investors focus switches to 2013/14 crop
SPRING LAMB AND HOGGET PRICES HAVE EASED The post-Easter trade can be a testing time for lamb producers trying to maintain returns, and 2013 is no exception, with an easing in the overall market tone at factories this week. Both spring lamb and hogget prices have eased at factories in the trading lull after Easter, with the pre-Easter prices no longer attainable.
Quoted prices for new season lambs have settled back at 620 cent/kg plus the bonus for quality. Reports from around the country indicate that there is less interest from the processors this week in the spring lambs. The hoggets are being quoted at 520 cent/kg, plus quality bonus, with a little bit of
Distribution of agriculture in Ireland The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine currently reports that the agri-food sector in Ireland contributes a value of €24 billion to the national economy, generates 6.3% of gross value added, almost 10% of Ireland’s exports and provides 7.7% of national employment. If inputs, processing and marketing is included, the agri-food sector accounts for almost 10% of employment. The agri-food sector is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous manufacturing sectors, accounting for employment
of around 150,000 people. It includes approximately 600 food and drinks firms throughout the country that export 85% of our food and seafood to more than 160 countries worldwide. Research has shown that Ireland’s investment in agriculture produces a far bigger return than investment in other sectors. That is because agriculture sources 71% of raw materials and services from Irish suppliers, compared to 44% for all manufacturing companies. Data from the Central Statistics Office indicates that the agri-food
430 cent/kg available as an all-in price. Meanwhile, the trade across the UK firmed last week, reflecting strong demand for relatively tight supplies. By last weekend, hoggets were making the equivalent of around 524 cent/kg, while new season lamb was making up to 675 cent/kg. sector (including agriculture, food, drinks, and tobacco) accounts for around 7% of GDP with primary agriculture accounting for around 2.5% of GDP. Agri-Food Exports Agri-food exports have an almost 10% share of total exports. However, when the low import content of agriculture and the low repatriation of profits are taken into account, the agri-food sector still accounts for around 25% of net foreign earnings. Irish food and drink exports grew last year by 12% giving a 25% increase in two years and were valued at a record €8.9 billion. The governement’s target is to grow this figure to €12 billion by 2020, which means continuous growth between now and then.
IRISH BEEF SELLING WELL IN BRITAIN Expenditure on beef was 2% higher in the four weeks ending 17 February, compared to the same period last year, in the UK, which takes up to half of Ireland’s beef. This reflected a 3% increase in the average retail beef price, and a 1% decline in volume sales seen as “a reasonable measured” consumer response to the unfolding horse-meat crisis, according to Northern Ireland’s Livestock and Meat Commission. Market data confirms that con-
sumers cut spending on more highly processed beef products. Fresh and frozen beef burger volumes were down 35.2%, chilled and frozen ready meals were also down. But some of this was due to removal of products by retailers. Otherwise, UK consumer demand for beef remained generally stable. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland last week published its second set of results of industry tests for horse meat in beef products, beef ingredients
and other ingredients. A total of 1,228 tests were carried out, of which 1,225 samples were found to be negative, and three samples, representing two products, were positive for horse meat. These positive results had been published previously and products withdrawn from the market. Meat ingredients and final beef products from a range of suppliers, caterers, processors, manufacturers and retailers were tested.
NITRATES DEROGATION APPLICATIONS The deadline for Nitrates derogation applications was March 31st. The new on-line system will enable farmers to apply till April 14th. It is very important that the applications are
done especially this year, as grass growth is very slow and temporary grazing may be very difficult to get. A farm must have 80% under grass and have grazing livestock to be eligible
for derogation. Derogation allows 250kg/ha of Nitrogen level as against 170kg/ha normally, this shows how vital the derogation is.
World grain prices have become extremely volatile over the last fortnight as investor attention turns to 2013 harvest prospects. US grain and soybean prices fell significantly last Thursday week, 28 March, after the release of the USDA’s March quarterly stock report and the annual Prospective Plantings report. That Thursday and Monday 1 April saw very heavy selling of US maize corn contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) exchange, totalling over 1.25 million. Thursday’s volume at just over 655,000 was the second largest on record. This had a knock on impact on European prices setting a negative tone for price direction for the coming weeks and possibly months. In the report, US maize stocks, at 137mt, were significantly higher than trade expectations as cumulative export sales dropped 5.5 percentage points compared to the 5 year average. This coupled with the prospect of the largest sown maize area since 1936, at 97.2m acres (trade estimates 97.4m acres), saw both old and new crop prices fall by $14/t to $15/t. On the wheat front US quarterly stocks were up by 3% compared to last season, at 33.5mt, in line with market expectations. New crop sowings were forecast to increase marginally by 1%. However, prices were dragged lower by falling maize prices. Immediately following the release of the
Fintan Conway. reports new and old crop wheat prices on the Chicago Board of Trade Exchange (CBOT) fell by $18/t and $16/t respectively. Paris Matif milling wheat futures followed suit falling by €8/t for both old crop and new crop on the back of this news. London Liffe wheat futures fell by st£4.75 for old crop and st£3.50/t for new crop. US soybean stocks are seen down by 27mt on last season however, quarterly stock drawdown for this quarter was seen as 3% higher and this in conjunction with the fall in maize prices pressured both old and new crop prices lower. CBOT May futures were down by $17.91/t and November futures by $7.50/t. New crop sowings are estimated at 77.1m acres down marginally on last season (-72,000 acres).
Market reaction overdone The market reaction was seen as overdone given the lingering drought and severe soil moisture
Farmers respond to Teagasc call Hundreds of farmers with excess fodder have responded to a Teagasc call to help those struggling due to a shortage of winter feed. Teagasc advisers across the country are compiling a database of farmers with fodder for sale and then matching them with livestock owners who are desperately seeking hay, silage and straw. The initiative has already attracted hundreds of farmers who are both buying and selling forage.
A spokesman for Dan O’Connor Feeds said feed demand was runnibg 2030pc above normal and their mill was working 24/7 to meet farmers’ requirements. Brian Doocey said production is at peak capacity but they were meeting the demand. Bernard Doorley of Teagasc in Offaly advised farmers to get silage analysed for quality before agreeing a price.
deficits across Central and Southern US plains. This was borne out as US wheat prices rebounded off 1 April’s nine month lows on the back of increasing concerns about the state of the US hard red winter wheat crop as it breaks dormancy following on from the prolonged drought. No different than in Europe weather so far this spring across the US Midwest has been unusually cold delaying sowings and winter crop development.
EU sowing & production estimates Closer to home unusually cold temperatures across much of Europe have delayed spring sowings and winter crop development. In the UK, March 2013 was reported as one of the coldest in recent times, while in Germany it was possibly the coldest on record. Irish and UK spring cereal plantings were at 15% at the end of March compared to 50% in a normal year. EU-27 cereals estimates and 2013/14 marketing year forecast increased production for soft wheat of 4.6mt (3.7%), 160,000t (0.2%) for maize and 91,000t (1.2%) for oats but a decrease of 160,000t (-0.3%) for barley. Total EU-27 grain production is forecast at 278.5mt up 5.5mt from 273mt in 2012.
Irish sowing estimates Following on from a very difficult growing season in 2012 overall Irish cereal sowings are expected to fall by 13,000ha to 15,000ha due to the significant drop in winter wheat sowings, tight seed availability and what has turned out to be a very late spring. The big
reduction in winter wheat sowings will see a significant swing to barley. Fortunately the re-opening of malt exports should take some pressure off the feed barley market this back end. Despite earlier talks of a significant increase in EU malting barley supplies many commentators expect volumes to be tight on the back of a later than normal spring sowing campaign.
Price prospects Old crop dried Irish wheat continues to trade around the €250/t price mark with barley close to import parity at €235/t as native stocks dwindle. Maize is currently discounting wheat by €2/t, trading at €248/t. New crop dried wheat prices have slipped by €5/t to €6/t on late March levels with wheat for 2013 harvest collection at €210/t to €212/t and barley from €190/t to €195/t. Green wheat and barley prices off the combine for harvest delivery are being quoted from €150/t to €155/t for barley and from €170/t to €175/t for wheat. New crop maize for October collection is being quoted at €205/t, limiting any upside potential particularly for barley in the short term. Prices are expected to remain volatile as weather and its impact on crop development over the coming weeks and months will have a major bearing on price direction. Buyer sentiment is currently negative and they anticipate further price falls. However, any major weather event across the northern hemisphere between now and harvest could see prices spike as happened in 2007 and 2012.
Midland (Edenderry) Veterinary Ltd Kishawanny, Edenderry, Co. Offaly.
Tel: 046-977-2239 Fax: 046-973-2722 Email: email@example.com Web: www.midlandvet.ie
• Suppliers of all veterinary products • Full range of animal feeds for horses, cattle, poultry and pets. Calf milk powder • Full range of hardware • We stock gates, wire, stakes, barrows and all garden and farming tools • Workwear, chemical sprays • We’ve got the lot under the one roof
NO PARKING PROBLEMS
Topic Newspapers • 11 April, 2013
Fox Bros Engineering Ltd. Ballycanew, Gorey, Co. Wexford. Phone: 053 9421677 Fax: 053 9421733 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Agricultural and Structural Engineers MANUFACTURERS OF HIGH QUALITY TRANSPORT BOXES ● CATTLE FEEDERS SHEEP ● TROUGHS● HORSE FEEDERS CATTLE TROUGHS ● SHEEP FEEDERS STANDARD AND ROLL OVER YARD SCRAPERS GATES (Any height length or specification made to order) Fabricators and Erectors of Farm & Industrial Buildings Best wishes to Moate Agri Supplies. ●
Best wishes to Moate Agri Supplies On the launch of the new Agri Store at Dublin Rd., Moate Stockist of Greenvale Animal Feeds
Opening of new Moate Agri Supplies store on the Dublin Road Moate Agri Supplies store recently opened at Marshbrook, Dublin Road, Moate (opposite The Well) providing all your agri supply needs in the greater Moate and surrounding areas. With its recently renovated farm shop and farm store you can get a complete range of animal feedstuffs, full range of fertilizers, grass and cereal seeds, full animal health range and all your light hardware needs and agrichemical products. Also in stock is a wide range of pet and horse feed. Store manager Niall Daly has worked in Tullamore Agri since 2001 and has over 10 years experience in servicing the needs of farmers and in giving advice on all cur-
rent and new product lines available in Moate Agri stores. Working with Niall is Padraig Keyes who also has firsthand knowledge of all products on site. Moate Agri Supplies stock the full range of Irelands best known brands including national brand names (Gouldings, Grasslands, Lakeland Dairies, Liffey Mills, Paul & Vincent). With flexible opening hours – Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm and due to public demand, Saturday opening from 9.00am to 5.00pm, the customer is greatly facilitated. Niall can be contacted on landline 09064-81415 or on mobile (087) 9694605 Why not see for yourself and visit Niall and his staff at Moate Agri store.
Niall Daly and Padraig Keyes at Moate Agri Supplies.
Best wishes to Moate Agri Supplies on the launch of the new Agri Store at Dublin Rd., Moate
"Caring for your soils for over 150 years" Best wishes to Moate Agri Supplies on the launch of the new Agri Store at Dublin Rd., Moate
Inside Moate Agri Supplies.
Best wishes to Moate Agri
Grassland Fertilizers (Kilkenny)
Tel.: 056-7721692 or 7721908 Fax: 056-7763112
Outside Moate Agri Supplies.
Topic Newspapers â€˘ 11 April, 2013
Best wishes to Moate Agri on the launch of their new Store PE835 - 35 Output Joule PE820 - 20 Output Joule (For professional use only)
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Serving the needs of Irish farmers
STRADBALLY FARM SERVICES LTD. Stradbally, Co. Laois. Tel: 057 8625182 Fax: 057 8625424 email: email@example.com web: www.stradballyfarmservices.com
Best wishes to Moate Agri on the launch of their new Store
2012 is the Reference Year For dairy farmers, hygiene under the CAP Proposals is a major issue, and cross compliance is a key
2012 is the Reference Year under the CAP Proposals and this is an important development. A derogation clause that was inserted at the negotiations at the Council of Ministers stage also greatly alleviated any concerns about a forward reference year. This means that the farmer can declare in either 2012, 2013 or 2014. It has been stated in the Dail that serious considera-
tion will be given to taking up 2012 as the reference year. If that is done, it means that the number of hectares submitted in 2012 would be the maximum number of entitlements you could receive in the new system. This would seem to mean that you can have entitlements up to that number of hectares in the subsequent years but not over it. It has also emerged that
the amount of money to be divided across the new entitlements in 2015 is now linked to the amount of SFP he gets paid in 2013. However, there are ongoing pressures on the amounts of money available for such grant schemes, due to the national economic situation, the greening scheme which he or she will have to apply for separately, and so on.
â€˜Never before witnessed such a difficult year for the farming communityâ€™ Best wishes to Moate Agri
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