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Sun shines on County Show

THE County Show went ahead last Sunday in superb weather conditions, with bright sunshine and very high temperatures. Clashing with the Munster hurling final hit the crowd to a certain extent, but it was still a very successful day according to chairman Joe Lillis. “The crowd was smaller than usual but we had great horse classes, plenty of jumpers, the cattle were back naturally because of the weather. We had a good few trade stands in it. We actually had a large fleet of donkeys in there.” He added, “The hurling took a good bit from it. Also the weather, a lot of people wouldn’t show cattle in that weather. The cattle just don’t perform, you could take a 100 weight off a beast travelling two hours in a box on a day like that. “The cattle were down, but the showing horses were up. We had a great All Ireland yearling class there, it’s known as the Banner yearling …

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App helps farmers prepare for the rainy day

A PART-time farmer from Spancilhill has developed a unique weather app, which provides farmers with on-farm alerts, included weather alerts, which aids them in planning their agricultural work. Dr John Garvey, senior lecturer in risk management and insurance at the University of Limerick, created FarmHedge, a free smart-phone app. “The weather alerts are specific to the farm location and they relate short-term forecasts to the 10-year normal for that location to provide information on grass growth, animal health risks and other farm activities,” he explained. John’s experience on the family farm in Spancilhill encouraged him to think about how farmers could use better weather information to help them plan their work. The very cold spring of 2013 and subsequent fodder crisis led John to think about better risk-management systems that could be made available to farmers. He began developing the app in UL, with funding from Enterprise Ireland. “I wanted farmers to have highly local and accurate weather information that …

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Support for vulnerable farmers

ICSA Rural Development chairman Seamus Sherlock has expressed concerns for the health and well-being of vulnerable farmers, who are experiencing difficulties coping with bad prices and the recent bad weather. Mr Sherlock was speaking ahead of a meeting on Rural Isolation and Mental Health in farming to be held in Carrigaholt on this Thursday evening. “ICSA understands what these farmers are going through and we will support them through these difficult times. The reality of the situation is often very different to public opinion. Poor prices coupled with high costs makes farming very difficult and stressful. Bad weather is also placing a very heavy burden on already struggling farmers”, said Mr Sherlock. “The fodder crisis of 2013 is still ingrained in many farmers’ minds and I hope lessons have been learned by government so that this will never be allowed to develop again. I am looking forward to meeting the people of west Clare on Thursday night and I will …

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IFA ‘Celtic Tiger contracts’ should end

THE IFA should end all “Celtic Tiger” contracts for new senior officials, including president, in the national organisation, the newly-elected Clare chairman has said. Willie Hanrahan has proposed that the salary for the next IFA president should be in the region of the €82,258 paid to a Dáil deputy, plus legitimate expenses. The Doonbeg dairy farmer wants the salaries of all senior officers and the general secretary included in the IFA’s annual general accounts in a bid to introduce proper openness and transparency to the organisation, which was left reeling by the controversy surrounding huge payments to key personnel last year. Acknowledging that this controversy seriously undermined the trust of farmers in the organisation during “dark days” last year, he pointed out that “Celtic Tiger contracts” paid to some officials were not adjusted during austerity times. He stressed that the IFA should become a “bottom-up” farmer-led organisation in a new change of direction, as it had evolved into a “top-down …

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Mid-West farm support group

Embrace FARM, the voluntary bereavement support group, has announced it is to establish a Mid-West branch of the network for families affected by fatal and non-fatal accidents. An information night is to be held on Thursday week, April 7 in the Castleoaks Hotel, Castleconnell with a view to establishing a branch for the area. It will be the fifth branch of the support group nationwide and will meet regularly provide invaluable support to families who have had to deal with tragic deaths and serious injury arising from farm incidents. Angela Hogan, from Nenagh will be the Regional Host and bring her own experience of the benefits of participating in a network, having joined the very first support group in the Midlands two years ago to help her deal with the aftermath of her partner Brendan’s death in a tragic accident in 2011. Embrace FARM was founded by Laois farmer Brian Rohan after his fathe,r Liam died following a farm accident …

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IFA warning on dog attacks on sheep

The IFA has warned dog owners to keep them under control at all times, as marauding dogs can inflict horrendous damage on a sheep flock. IFA National Sheep chairman John Lynskey said the country’s 34,000 sheep farmers are currently preparing to lamb down 2.4 million ewes, adding that pregnant ewes on the point of lambing are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks. Mr Lynskey said recent dog attacks have been reported to IFA from flock owners in counties Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly and Galway. He pointed out that dog owners are responsible for ensuring that their pets are under control at all times and can be held responsible for losses involved in dog attacks, with serious financial and legal consequences. Mr Lynskey said statistics collated by IFA indicate that the problem of dog attacks on sheep may be in the order of 300 to 400 attacks per annum, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed. He said data on dog attacks …

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Make farm safety a new year’s resolution

Teagasc has called on farmers to make their own safety, and their families’ safety, top priority in 2016.   This follows another year of high Irish farm deaths, when 17 persons died (provisional figure), compared to 30 in 2014. Teagasc health and safety officer, John McNamara has called for particular vigilance in January as farm work increases, giving rise to increased risk.  He stated that January and March have about 9% and 12% respectively, of annual fatal farm accidents, which is associated with high levels of work activity. Dr McNamara said that while each accident has individual factors, contact with machinery and equipment (41%), livestock incidents (24%) and falls from heights (18%) were the predominant associated causes in 2015. Dr McNamara r pointed out that up to €395 million is available in Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS 2) funding up to the end of 2019. A considerable number of measures are included which support making farms safer and more efficient workplaces. These include …

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‘Disturbing’ sums paid by IFA

CONFIDENCE in the country’s leading lobby group and largest farming organisation received another hammer blow this week when it was revealed that outgoing Irish Farmers’ Association’s presidents received a year’s salary as “a golden handshake”. “There is massive disappointment regarding the presidents’ golden handshake. Farmers are really disappointed, more than anything else. We knew the general secretary was on big money but it turns out that it was bigger than we knew,” said Ardrahan farmer and Galway IFA chairman Pat Murphy. While revelations about the pay of former general secretary Pat Smith rocked the IFA in recent weeks, the full scale of his pay and pension contributions since 2009 were revealed at a marathon meeting of the IFA national executive on Tuesday. The new information was contained in the report and recommendations on the association’s structures and procedures and certain remuneration issues presented by former IFA chief economist and Clare-man Con Lucey. It shows that Mr Smith received more, each …

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