IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed today’s Commission decision to grant a derogation on the crop diversification requirement for crop 2018. This will give growers the required flexibility to establish the maximum amount of arable crops weather permitting.
Joe Healy said, “Today’s decision by Commissioner Hogan is a pragmatic move, recognising the severe difficulties faced by growers in what is proving to be one of the latest springs in living memory. The month of March has been an unusually wet and cold month, particularly across the main arable regions of the country. Monthly rainfall totals for March for much of the East and Southeast were unusually high with Dunsany in County Meath recording 251% of the Long-Term Average. The early days of April have proved little better with rainfall levels in two Cork weather stations at over 300% of normal over the last seven days”.
IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne said the very late and unusually cold and wet spring has severely delayed the establishment of spring crops, as much of the spring ploughing is yet to be done particularly across the larger tillage counties. The window of opportunity for sowing spring beans, oats and wheat has passed in areas as we head towards mid-April. Late sowing of oats and wheat, particularly in the peripheral regions, is a recipe for disaster as we experienced in the harvest of 2016.
It is in Ireland’s overall interest to see the maximum amount of native cereal sown given the depletion of grain and straw stocks. Today’s decision will allow growers to maximise the sown area.