IFA Grain Chairman Kieran McEvoy said the tillage sector is suffering severe collateral damage as a result of dairy farmers trying to comply with the new nitrates measures being introduced by the Department of Agriculture.
“Tillage farmers are being blown out of the land rental market, with prices of €500/ac now commonly reported in south Leinster and Munster. These prices are totally unsustainable for tillage farmers in 2023. The tillage sector is heavily dependent on rented and leased land. Estimates put the area between 30-40% of the total sown,” he said.
The tillage sector needs to be recognised as part of the solution to any nitrates action. “In the majority of cases, tillage farms are the perfect home for slurry from dairy herds and exporting nutrients in the form of slurry must be part of the solution,” he said.
“We are calling on the Minister for Agriculture to urgently sit down and meet with the IFA Grain Committee to discuss a way forward for the tillage sector out of these current challenges. If this problem is not addressed, there is a risk the tillage area will contract substantially after two years of growth. Regaining this area will be very difficult,” Kieran McEvoy concluded.