IFA National Grain Chairman Kieran McEvoy said the Minister for Agriculture must come forward and act quickly on the actions identified in the interim report of the Food Vision Tillage Group.
“Confidence is low among tillage farmers and action is needed to try and ensure the tillage area does not decline further in 2024,” he said.
In the pre-Budget Submission prepared by IFA, the National Grain Committee has sought a pilot fund to grant aid construction of slurry storage on tillage farms; an additional top up for the Straw Incorporation Measure in 2024; and an extension of the Tillage Incentive Scheme. All of these measures will help the wider tillage sector in the coming years.
Kieran McEvoy said the harvest of 2023 is still not finished. There are pockets of spring barley, spring oats and spring beans to be harvested.
“It has been the most difficult harvest since 2008 and 2012 in the vast majority of the country, with atrocious weather in July and August; moderate to very poor grain yields in all crops; and very high input costs. These factors have left growers with negative or minimal financial returns in 2023,” he said.
“The changes signalled for derogation farms will keep land rental costs inflated and, in many cases, out of reach of tillage farmers. Exporting slurry to tillage lands must be part of the conversation in overcoming the challenge presented by these organic N rates changes,” he said.