Ireland gets 11m in new EU dairy package

milking machine

The European Commission has unveiled €500 million aid package for the EU Agriculture sector with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

The package includes a €350 million conditional adjustment aid measure to be implemented by Member States – from which Ireland will receive €11.1m – and a €150 million EU wide measure to support voluntary reduction in milk production.

The European Commission also announced the extension of public intervention for Skimmed Milk Powder and private storage aid schemes to February 2017.

The package also includes provision for advance payment of key farm support payments.

The payment of up to 70% of direct payments and 85% for area based RDP payments from October 16 is to provide further relief to farmers experiencing liquidity issues, according to the Commission.

The package contains three main elements:

  • A EU-wide scheme to incentivise a reduction in milk production (€150 million)
  • Conditional adjustment aid to be defined and implemented at Member State level out of a menu proposed by the Commission (€350 million that Member States will be allowed to match with national funds, thus potentially doubling the level of support being provided to farmers)
  • A range of technical measures to provide flexibility (e.g. on voluntary coupled support), cash-flow relief (e.g. through an increase in the amount of the advances for both direct and area-based rural development payments) and reinforce the safety net instruments (by prolonging intervention and private storage aid for Skimmed Milk Powder).

The precise details of all the different measures will be finalised in the coming weeks, in consultation with Member State experts. Commenting on the package Minister Creed said he welcomed the fact the Commission has taken a two-pronged approach to dealing with the issue.

“Ireland’s views in relation to supply management are well known and we did not want today’s package to be focused exclusively on production discipline, although there were strong demands for that from some Member States.

“So the fact that 70% of today’s package has been directed to adjustment aid is very welcome. In relation use of these funds, I have argued strongly that the maximum possible flexibility needs to be given to Member States.

“While we still await full details, which we will examine closely, the flexibility indicated by the Commissioner to provide liquidity support to farmers is welcome,” he said.

Minister Creed commended Commissioner Hogan for delivering this package concluding that “€500 million is a significant package in the context of competing demands for funding within the EU at this time and underlines the Commissioners capacity to deliver for the Agriculture sector within the EU”.

Summer Flies. Time To Take Control Of Costly Summer Mastitis & Pink Eye

Whether your main enterprise is dairy, beef or sheep, flies are more than just a nuisance to your livestock and are often the vectors for disease that can result in reduced productivity and profitability, as well as animal welfare issues.

Summer FliesThis means that fly control over summer is vital. By reducing flies’ contact with livestock, we can better control key diseases such as Summer Mastitis, Pink Eye and Blowfly Strike. These common fly-borne diseases will reduce animal productivity and your profit margin, so it’s vital that we take a proactive approach to prevention. The good news is that we can introduce simple protocols to reduce the impact of summer flies- let’s take a look at how you can take back control

Summer Mastitis in particular is a disease which causes huge stress and expense for Irish farmers. Painful and debilitating, summer mastitis is a fly-borne disease resulting in the infection of the non-lactating mammary gland which affects dry cows, young calves and heifers.

Where animals are affected by summer mastitis, veterinary intervention will be required as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will be needed. However, prevention is always better than cure as, in reality; most affected quarters will not recover.

Taking Control

Now is the time to act to reduce the risk on your farm. In most cases, successful prevention of fly-borne diseases is very reliant on the repelling the adult fly. Fly control is vital to prevent the disease from spreading from cow to cow. Fly control ear tags, insecticides, pour-ons and weekly application of stockholm tar can all play a role in fly control. Pour-ons (Dectospot, Spotinor, Ectospec) have zero milk withdrawal in cattle and can be used during both pregnancy and lactation.

7 Tips to Help Prevent Fires Around Farm Machinery

7 tips to help prevent fires around farm machinery

7 tips to prevent fires around farm machineryLast week in the Bansha area of Co. Tipperary local fire services were called out to a fire involving a tractor and trailer carrying 30 hay bales. The fire happened Tuesday afternoon and caused the road to be closed for several hours by the Gardaí. The summer months always prove the busiest time of year for farmers with work involving machinery increasing significantly.

Here are some useful tips to reduce the risk of your tractor or machinery catching fire.

  • Keep machinery clean and free of combustible materials, particularly engine compartments where machinery fires often start.
  • Make certain exhaust systems including manifolds, mufflers and turbochargers, are free of leaks and in good working order.
  • Follow instructions when installing and operating farm machinery and follow maintenance schedules.
  • Replace worn electrical components, bearings, belts or chains.
  • Keep appropriate fully charged fire extinguishers on tractors, combines, and near all farm machinery.
  • Welders and cutting torches should only be used in clean areas at least 35 feet away from any flammable and combustible materials. Welding curtains should be used.
  • Store vehicles and machinery, which present special hazards, in buildings separate from those used for other purposes.

The safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it according to the Health and Safety Authority.

Fire Extinguishers: Do you know how to work yours?

Many farmers own small fire extinguishers in case of an emergency, and if you don’t it is highly advisable that you do, but how many of us would be able to use them without first reading the instructions?

Remember the phrase P-A-S-S if you attempt to put out a small fire with an extinguisher.

P is for pull the pin of the extinguisher (or with some units, Press the puncture lever or release the lock hatch);

A is for aim low or point the unit’s nozzle at the base of the fire;

S is for squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent;

and S is for sweep from side to side. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until it appears to be out.

Never turn your back on a small fire, even if it looks as if it is out. Be prepared in case it flashes again.

Dealing with Docks. If you can eliminate them, more grass will grow in their place

DocksThe amount of grass grown on farms would increase if farmers eliminated docks from their swards, according to TP Whelehan’s Chris Maughan.
Speaking at a Teagasc Better Beef Farm walk in Co. Meath, the Technical Director said as the amount of docks increase in a sward the amount of grass grown falls at the same rate.
“If you eliminate docks more grass will grow in its place,” he said.
 
Maughan also spoke about research trials carried out in Teagasc Kildalton, which showed that grass production falls as docks increase in both first and second cut silage. Let’s say you have 10t of DM grass cut, he said, if 50% of the field is covered in docks and 50% is covered in grass, you’ll harvest 5t of grass and 5t of docks. If 90% of the field is covered in grass and 10% is covered in docks, you’ll harvest 9t of grass and 1t of docks, he said.
The TP Whelehan representative also said that farmers can get very good levels of dock control if the manage the spraying protocol correctly. The key thing is getting the timing of the spraying right. Spraying at the correct stage of growth is important. “Docks can have a large taproot, up to 1m in length at times, and this can make the weed difficult to eliminate,” he said. Because of this, he said, it is essential to spray the docks at correct growth stage.
Maughan also said that docks should be sprayed when they are green and leafy, as spraying when the seed head is formed (reproductive stage) will result in a lower kill. When the dock is at its reproductive stage, more energy is supplied to the top of the plant and as a result the chemical will not be taken up as well by the root, he said. “The weed killer will still work but you will get poor long term control.”
For swards including clover, Maughan said there were two clover-safe products available on the market, these are Eagle and Prospect. However, he said there are no clover safe products currently available for nettle control and if spraying for nettles, clover can be easily reintroduced into the sward through over sowing into existing swards. Clover can be spread using a fertiliser spreader, onto the surface of the field. It doesn’t need to be rolled or stitched in- clover will germinate on the surface.

How to Control Parasites in Young Cattle

Parasite infections can badly affect growth rates in young cattle, writes Gordon Peppard, programme advisor for the Teagasc Calf to Beef Programme.

How to Control Parasites in Young CattleIn young stock, severe infection can reduce growth rates by up to 30pc. Infection by parasites is one of the main reasons for the lack of thrive in young cattle at grass for their first grazing season. The main parasites present are gut (stomach) worms, lungworms (hoose), liver fluke and rumen fluke.

In young stock, severe infection can reduce growth rates by up to 30pc. This will make it very difficult to achieve target weights for age.

Calves in their first season at grass have no immunity against stomach worms or lungworms. Adult cattle are less affected by these parasites. The exceptions are adult cattle that had no previous exposure to the parasite and therefore could not develop natural immunity, or animals whose immune systems have been weakened by disease or poor nutrition.

The following are the key factors in controlling parasites in young animals.
Identify the risk

Young stock, particularly artificially reared calves at grass for the first time, are most at risk of infection as they are eating reasonable amounts of grass and have very little immunity developed.
But other grazing cattle exposed to worms may also suffer production losses.
Permanent grassland grazed by livestock in the previous couple of months poses a very high risk of infection.
In an ideal world, young animals should graze new reseeds, after grass where silage has been cut or grass that has had no stock for greater than six months.
These options are not always possible so you need to work with what is available.
A high stocking rate of young calves produces high pasture contamination. Worm build up on grass over the grazing season and infective stages generally peak from mid- summer onwards.

Correct treatment

Monitoring of animals is a critical strategy that can be used.
Regular weighing to monitor average daily gains and growth rates is vital. Ideally use a scales but alternatives such as weight bands can be used as a guideline.
A weight gain for calves of 0.7 kgs plus per day indicates a very low risk from parasites. Undertake to regularly dung sample to determine the number of worm eggs present. Talk to your vet or local veterinary laboratory on this method.
Minimising risks

If there are sheep on the farm, mixed grazing of cattle and sheep or alternative yearly grazing’s with cattle and sheep can give a dilution effect of the worms present.
Use a leader follower system where the calves graze the paddock first and are followed by larger cattle, thereby reducing the risk of the older cattle infecting the younger calves.
Don’t force the calves to graze the paddocks out too tight, keep the paddock size small, so that they are not in them for too long, introduce them to covers of seven to eight centimetres high grass and remove them after three days, letting in bigger cattle to clean out the paddocks.
Strategic use of wormers (anthelminthics)

Treatments are generally focussed on young stock to provide cover for the first couple of months at grass to minimise pasture contamination. Different product types have different lengths of suppression depending on whether you are using white drenches, yellow drenches, avermectins or boluses.
Check with your vet to establish the period of cover that you have.
Avoid resistance

Use products correctly, avoid under dosing animals, weigh cattle if possible to get correct weight. Check dosing equipment to ensure correct amount is applied. Follow the labels instructions.
Good control can be achieved by using anthelminthics responsibly, focussing on treating individuals or groups at appropriate times and recognising that animals can thrive without frequent treatments.

In all cases it is advisable to discuss a control strategy with your own vet as no two farms are the same. -Indo Farming