IFA President Joe Healy has acknowledged that a number of measures to deal with the drought conditions have been introduced, but momentum has to be continued.
The extension to spreading dates for fertiliser & organic fertiliser announced by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed at the Tullamore Show yesterday is an important flexibility for farmers who need to replenish their fodder stocks.
“The measure to encourage tillage farmers to grow fodder crops and the commitment to introduce a fodder import scheme represents some progress. However, more needs to be done, and done quickly,” he said.
“Farmers expect the Department to introduce the fodder import scheme quickly. Some co-ops and merchants have identified available fodder abroad and it is vital that the scheme is put in place quickly,” he said.
The IFA President said it was important that changes under GLAS are confirmed and clarified as a matter of urgency. The flexibility to allow conservation of fodder on fallow ground is welcome, but urgent movement on the Low-Input Grassland measure is critical. This will allow farmers to conserve extra fodder.
Joe Healy again called on Minister Creed to introduce immediately the low-cost loans which were promised in last October’s Budget, adding that these loans must be available for working capital.
“Many farmers have now run up huge bills with their co-ops and merchants purchasing additional feed. Opening up the loans would make available over €150m in liquidity for farmers which would help to pay feed and other bills,” Joe Healy said.
“All direct payments have to rolled out on time, starting with the increased ANC payment next month and the 70% advance payment under the Basic Payment Scheme in October.”