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Feed demand remained strong for the last two weeks of March but as expected has slowed into April. The recent spell of good weather has allowed farmers to plant significant acreages of Spring wheat and beans. Estimates put the Spring wheat acreage close to 10,000ha compared to the 3,700ha planted last year. The bean acreage should also increase to over 10,000ha compared to the 7300ha planted in 2019. At this stage there appears to be no shortage of Spring barley seed, despite an expectation of plantings being in excess of 120,000ha.

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IFA National Grain Chairman Mark Browne has welcomed the move by some cereal seed companies to increase the premium paid to seed growers.

The Grain Chairman said it was a positive first step towards improving the economic sustainability of the sector. He called on all seed companies to follow this lead, and improve the terms and conditions of their seed contracts.

Members of the IFA grain committee have held meetings with both the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA) and individual seed companies regarding issues in the sector.

IFA has stressed that the prevailing premiums on seed production are not sustainable. Previous returns for specialist seed growers have not reflected the extra costs and work associated with seed versus conventional production.

According to official figures, Irish seed growers produced 64,000 tonnes of seed from 8,500 ha in 2019. This seed is grown to a higher voluntary standard than required under EU specifications. In addition to the basic EU requirements, Irish seed has zero tolerances for wild oats, sterile brome and blackgrass.

Mark Browne concluded by saying, “Due to our higher plant health standards it is vital that the Irish seed sector be maintained and protected in the context of the overall sustainability of the Irish tillage sector”.

 

IFA has made a detailed submission to the Government and the EU Commission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full submission is available here.

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IFA National Grain Chairman Mark Browne has welcomed the decision by the Department of Agriculture to allow farmers to apply for the derogation on the 3-crop rule. He said the extension would alleviate some of the pressure on farms during this difficult time.

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Domestic Market

Feed demand remains steady as the continued wet weather has ensured animals have remained indoors. Barley has picked up some demand due to the price differential with other feedstuffs, which will ensure lower stock levels than last year. Estimates would suggest that at this stage there are approximately 82,000 ha of Winter cereal crops planted.

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