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Activity since last National Council

TAMS

  • 3,448 farmers applied for TAMS in Tranche 18, which closed on August 21st. In addition 1,240 applicants were carried forward from the previous tranche to give an overall application of 4,688.
  • Approvals of 70% of these farmers will be made shortly. This will mean that 1,406 applicants will be carried into Tranche 19, which closes on October 31st.
  • IFA is insisting that there must be no delay in approvals for tranche 19 as to date the process is too slow.
  • So far in TAMS around 31,729 approvals for TAMS have been issued. However, 6,685 applicants have not proceeded with their approval.
  • Payments worth €231.8m have been paid out to 16,585 farmers to date. A further 900 farmers have lodged payment claims.
  • When the carryover allocation from TAMS 1 is taken into account, €243.27m has been spent out of the 2014 – 2020 RDP allocation of €395m.
  • In the 2020 Book of estimates €82.5m is allocated with about €54.8m paid out to date. It is expected that the full allocation will be paid out by year end. Under EU transitional rules IFA will be looking for the scheme to continue into next year.
  • In Budget 2021 IFA will be seeking an allocation of €120m.
  • The amendment to TAMS to increase the investment ceiling for pigs and poultry investment from €80,000 to €200,000 will come in under transitional arrangements in 2021.
  • At a recent meeting with the Dept. it was pointed out to IFA that Grant Aid for LESS will not apply after April 2021 for farmers who are in the nitrates derogation, as it is a mandatory measure for the farmers in the nitrates derogation since April 2020.
  • At this meeting, IFA also raised the necessity to increase the standard costings as they have not been reviewed for over 2 years.

2020 BPS/ANC Schemes

  • IFA met the Department of Agriculture in early September to press for early pay-out across all schemes.
  • At closing date for BPS 15th May around 129,000 farmers had made application.
  • IFA will be demanding that there is a maximum pay-out to all farmers of the 70% advance on the 16th The balancing 30% will be paid out on Dec 1st.
  • ANC payments commenced on 16th September last. So far, 87,565 farmers have been paid 85% of their payment worth €188.45m. Payments are being issued to around 1,000 farmers per week as they meet their minimum level stocking requirement.
  • The balancing 15% payment will be paid in early December.
  • IFA have got a commitment that any file that is out for inspection will not hold up payment for BPS or ANC.
  • ANC payments are worth €250m to nearly 100,000 farmers.
  • The Department’s LPIS review is continuing in counties Meath, Cavan, Longford and Leitrim. IFA is insisting that there is no repeat of last year’s debacle in Co. Louth where there were significant delays in payments due to digitising of maps.
  • IFA will be taking this matter up with the Charter of Rights meetings on 8th

ANC Appeals

  • Farmers in townlands that lost out under the appeal can now take their case up with the Ombudsman office.
  • IFA has requested that information to the unsuccessful townlands is issued by the Department of Agriculture, so that areas know what they can take up with the ombudsman.
  • Of the 315 townlands which have appealed, 72 were successful with 22 townlands coming for the first time.
  • Areas that were successful having been previously excluded, will get full payment restored this year. New areas will get full payment also. For those not successful, who have previously been included, they will qualify for a 40% payment in 2020 but will get no payment in 2021.

GLAS

  • At this stage 47,775 farmers have got their full 2019 payment. There are still about 600 due their balancing 15% payments for a variety of reasons. The total amount paid out under GLAS for 2019 is €202.86m.
  • The remaining farmers are being paid as problems are being resolved.
  • 2020 payments will commence in early Nov with a 85% payment. The remaining 15% will be paid in May 2021.
  • IFA is seeking an extension of GLAS plans, for either 1 or 2 years and that an early announcement is made so that farmers are given ample time to apply for an extension.

EU Transitional Rules

  • EU Transitional proposals have now been passed by the European Parliament and the Council of Minister.
  • However, in the trialogues which also involves the EU Commission, the Commission is insisting on a one-year transition.
  • The transitional rules are vital to allow the continuation of various schemes such as GLAS, TAMS, BDGP, and Sheep Welfare into 2021 or 2022.
  • At the recent meeting with the Dept., the Rural Development Committee raised the extension of GLAS 1 and 2 for 36,000 whose plans finish at year end and 12,000 GLAS 3 farmers whose plans finish at the end of 2021.
  • At the meeting with the Department of Agriculture IFA insisted that there must be a simple process to transpose plans for 1or 2 years.

EU/COPA Developments on CAP

  • IFA is engaging with COPA and the EU commission on various aspects of CAP such as the transitional regulations, relaxation of BPS rules including inspections, applications dates and earlier payment dates for 2020 schemes.
  • Ongoing dialogue with the Department of Agriculture to ensure a case is made to Brussels on changes to GLAS, ANC and TAMS schemes.

Upcoming Events

The Rural Development Committee meeting on Wednesday October 7th.

Charter of Rights meeting on October 8th.

Chairman Michael Biggins
Executive Denis Griffin

Market Report

  • Lamb Price Update: 05/10/2020. Prices steady. In general QA lambs €5.20/5.30. Producer groups on more. Weights up to 22kg. Ewes €2.60/2.80. Factories more anxious for lambs. 
  • Supplies: Wk 39 (21/09/2020 – 27/09/2020). 61,206 sheep were slaughtered at Sheep export premises w/c 21/9/2020 compared to 66,643 in the same week 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are 6.1% up on 2019 at 2,120,732 head.
  • Live Trade: Total live exports stood at 23,749 head to the middle of September.
  • Select and Sell: In selling, select carefully and avoid over weight and under finished lambs. It is important to move lambs as they become fit to avoid penalties.
  • GB Lamb Prices as reported by AHDB: Lamb price for last week was £4.63/kg, which is equivalent to €5.36kg incl. vat.
  • IFA publish lamb price updates twice weekly and all of the latest data is available at ifa.ie
  • Weekly kill data:

Activity Since last Council

  • Met with DAFM on key issues for the sheep sector including, the rollover and enhancement of the sheep welfare scheme, the €30/ewe targeted support scheme, setting up a sheep industry working group, live lamb importation figures from NI, lamb originating outside NI, Market access, trade deals, Brexit, TRQ, Covid-19, dog control, the wool market.
  • Met with MII to discuss the base price and the enhancement of the Quality Assurance scheme.
  • Met with Teagasc to discuss the economic, environmental and social contributions of the Irish sheep sector.
  • Weekly publication of IFA Beef and Sheep Update and update of IFA What’s app groups on a weekly basis.

Upcoming issues

  • Continue discussions with DAFM on rollover and enhancement of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
  • Continue lobbying for the €30/ewe targeted support scheme.
  • Follow up on meeting with DAFM.
  • Organising meeting with Sheep Ireland.
  • Follow up meeting with Teagasc.
  • Setting up of a Sheep Industry Working Group.
  • Ongoing discussion with DAFM on dog control and the wool market.
  • Ongoing contact with DAFM, Bord Bia, Sheep Ireland and lamb factories on various sheep issues.
Chairman Sean Dennehy
Policy Executive Anna Daly
Senior Policy Executive Tomas Bourke

Market Report

Broilers

Broiler production remains constant at around 2 million broilers every week.  Demand for poultry has gained from the shift away from foodservice towards the main retailers in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. This demand has led to increased demand from retailers, to the countries three broiler processors, but unfortunately price sensitivity has not seen this increased demand be transformed into increased production or improved chicken wholesale prices as yet. The IFA Poultry Committee will undertake a mission to engage with all retailer players and processors to attempt to pressurise the market to transform this increased consumer demand into actual increased throughput and margins for broiler farmers.

Egg Production

Following 14 confirmed outbreaks of LPAI, in the Co Monaghan region, circa 550,000 laying hens were culled in March-May 2020. This left a shortfall of eggs on the Irish market. The increase in retail demand combined with this shortfall has created a perfect storm in the table egg market. The main egg packers are importing Northern Irish eggs to cover the shortfall of Irish eggs. These egg all meet the Lion Standard and have been temporarily approved to be sold in Bord Bia Quality assured packs from Irish packers, in order to hold retail markets. Restocking of many of the culled hen laying houses is now almost fully complete.

The IFA Egg Committee, part of the IFA Poultry Committee, has a job of work to carry out in the immediate weeks to ensure that all Irish retailers reaffirm their 100% commitment to Bord Bia Quality Assured eggs as soon as possible.

Egg Price Campaign

IFA has started a campaign to get all processors to pay an increased egg price to the supply chain, and ultimately back to farmers, to cover the increased risks the entire industry carries, especially egg farmers. IFA will lead this campaign and coordinate farmer–retailer meetings and egg packer meetings in order to ensure the risks are recognised financially by the supply chain.  Egg farmers have not received any significant increase in their egg price for over 15 years, and despite gains in genetic and management efficiency, margins are being eroded away to the point of unsustainability.

Poultry Working Group

The Poultry Working Group (PWG) is an industry group which was set up to deal with the impending disastrous situation of Low Pathogenic Avian Infleunza (LPAI) and its effect on the Irish poultry sector in 2020. While the loss of over 500,000 poultry birds to LPAI in March-May of 2020 was a hammer blow to a small but very important reginal agriculture sector which has proven itself to be economically viable with very limited national or EU financial supports. This newly formed group, of which IFA is a member, represented by IFA Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan, has been proactive in providing industry sourced funding to assist in tackling LPAI outbreaks in a timely manner. Broiler groups contributed to this fund which provided financial assistance to farmers to cull LPAI positive flocks, to prevent the disease spreading further.

PWG Disease Compensation Fund Proposals

The PWG has made a draft proposal to tackle further disease incidents such as LPAI in the future. It involved setting up a levy, to create a fund, which would be used to cover losses and expenses associated with certain disease outbreaks in the commercial poultry sector. Then proposal is based on international research and similar systems are operated across mainland Europe. These proposals will involve contributions from farmers and must be fully explained and discussed with all those vested interested before moving forward. Ongoing dialogue on the proposal are underway between the PWG and farmers presently.

PWG Funded Industry Economic Report

During a funding call to industry stakeholders, the PWG decided to request funding for an economic report on the poultry sector. Unlike the Irish beef and dairy sector, information is not readily available as to the overall contribution that the poultry sector makes to the national economy, in terms of employment and output. While relatively small in terms of numbers of farmers in the sector, it is a very viable sector with opportunities for future growth.  The PWG commissioned Professor of Economics from UCC, Thia Hennessey to compile the report. This is due to be launched in mid-September and will highlight the importance, especially in certain regions of Ireland, of our most undervalued agricultural sector.

Chairman Andy Boylan
Executive Robert Malone

As wet weather conditions set in across the country, growers face additional challenges and liftings will be set back in some areas. Retail demand remains quite strong however the food service sector has experienced another blow as stricter lockdown measure are imposed for the entire country.

In the U.K. trade remains generally subdued. Packing Maris Piper seems to be the only material making any kind of traction. Liftings are reported to be continuing at pace with growers trying to get some complete in the next week. Clearance is 50 to 75% in the South and the Midlands with more growers starting to clear but, in the Fens, and Lincolnshire progress is only 20 to 30%. In Scotland, lifting of ware crops is “60%” complete.

Recent estimates the total production in the E.U. 27 is expected to be 54.8mt’s compared to 51.23mt’s last year and 56.38mt’s in 2017. Physical markets across Europe remain broadly unchanged with processors still only taking very light volumes of free buy.

Low High Average
Rooster box (New Season) €380 €430 €400
Rooster 10 kg (New Season) €4 €5 €4.50
New Season Queen 10kg bag €5 €7 €6
New Season Kerr Pinks €5.50 €6.50 €6

Activity since last Council

  • National Potato Day took place on Friday October 2nd. This year’s event was based online and involved social media activities based on cooking potato dishes and promoting the nutritional benefits of potatoes.
  • Following an extensive lobbying campaign, IFA successfully secured a derogation for the emergency use of Diquat.
  • The IFA planted acreage survey is almost complete. DAFM preliminary BPS area figures show potato area similar to 2019. Reports from growers indicate that yields appear to be average or just below average.
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA continue to engage with DAFM on this.
  • The second activation of the new EU Potato Promotions Campaign is now underway. A number of influencers are onboard and they will showcase their cooking skill and the versatility of potato dishes to their millennial audiences. IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign the website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/

EU/COPA developments

  • IFA, along with Copa.Cogeca, are continuing their lobbying in Brussels regarding the reapproval and authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s.
  • The Farm to Fork Strategy element of the European Green Deal is aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. IFA have highlighted that there is nothing fair about targets in the Green Deal, which will increase the regulatory burden and undermine local tillage framers while continuing to allow access to non-EU feedstuffs produced to different standards.

Upcoming Activity/Events

  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices.
  • IFA will continue to contact growers to ensure they are aware of the costs of production.
  • Potato Promotions – The second activation of the potato promotions is now underway; more details are on https://www.potato.ie/.  Growers have received a letter to support this initiative. Growers contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU.

There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.

Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

Pig Market Report

Irish Pig Price Stabilises but EU Markets in Turmoil

After the initial price reduction of 32c/kg during April-June the Irish pig price has remained relatively stable at €1.60-€1.62/kg over the past number of weeks. The main development in the pig world market has been the devastating announcement of ASF positive cases in wild boar in Germany. Initially only one case was reported but increased testing of wild boar in the rural region of Brandenburg state has seen the number of positive cases rise to over 40. While ASF has been in circulation in the wild boar population in neighbouring Poland for the past four years, and this is the first incident of ASF positive in Germany, which is the EU’s second largest producer and exporter of pork, behind Spain. The immediate response of the German pig market was to drop the price by 20c/kg, down to a low price of €1.27/kg and this is where the price remains for the German pig farmers, at least 20c/kg below the cost of production. The response of many importer nations was immediate and devastating with China, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam among others, all announcing that all pork and pig products from the entire country of Germany were no longer approved. This move has caused a huge disturbance in the EU and worldwide pigmeat markets. China remains severely deficit in pigmeat as Germany accounted for up to 15% of total Chinese pork imports over the past year, the loss of this channel has resulted in South American exporter countries, Brazil and Argentina, experiencing an increase in demand from China and other Asian buyers.

What does all this mean for Irish pig prices?

Ireland is an island on the edge of Europe. We have a number of advantages in the battle to keep ASF free. Restricted travel and movement due to Covid-19, no significant wild boar population, and a very structured and highly bio secure pig farming sector will all help to keep Ireland free from ASF. The Department of Agriculture and the National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) have played an important role in keeping the message regarding the threat of ASF in the minds of travellers into the country and among the pig keepers.

On the positive side, the worldwide outlook for pigmeat remains very positive, with the fundamentals of the world market remaining unchanged since pre-Covid times. The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in Asia, particularly China have removed up to 25% of the worlds pig production herd. This is a huge deficit in pigmeat and will not be filled quickly and the underlying demand from countries such as China will underpin any good international trade for pigmeat over the next 3-5 years.

Roscrea back into China

The news that the largest pig processor in Ireland, Rosderra has regained approval for its Roscrea plant to export to China is great news for the entire industry and it should result in increased stability and improved pig prices in the run up to the year end.

EU Green Deal, “Farm to Fork”

Pig farmers have faced plenty of challenges over the recent number of years, including reduction in antibiotics, ban on zinc oxide, consumer and retailer demands, African Swine Fever, and higher animal welfare interpretations.  As if there weren’t enough challenges already, soon pig producers in Europe also face the EU’s ‘Green Deal’.

A summary of the targets of this action for 2030 are:

  • To reduce the use of chemical and more hazardous pesticides by 50%;
  • To reduce nutrient losses by 50% and fertiliser use by 20%;
  • To reduce antimicrobial sales for farm animals by 50%;
  • To increase farmland dedicated to organic farming to 25%.

There are many challenges in this new food strategy but with challenges come opportunities. IFA Pigs Committee are working alongside both Teagasc Pig Department and DAFM to explore possible opportunities for the Irish pig sector to get some competitive advantages in marketing of “Irish Pigmeat” and opportunities to incorporate the pig production system into the circular economy in a recognised and sustainable manner.

Chairman Thomas Hogan
Executive Robert Malone

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