Compensating farmers for rain 'a crazy policy'
COMPENSATING FARMERS for wet weather would be “a crazy policy”, the Minister for Agriculture has said.
Simon Coveney yesterday ruled out any compensation scheme for farmers, who say they are facing losses of more than €100 million because of low yields and the unexpected expense of buying fodder and cattle feed during the summer.
Mr Coveney said he had asked EU commissioner for agriculture Dacian Ciolos to give Irish farmers a 70 per cent advance of the single farm payment to improve their cash flow, but it was unrealistic to promise anything more.
Speaking to the Association of European Journalists in Dublin, he said expenditure ceilings were putting “huge pressures” on the Department of Agriculture.
“We’re being asked to reduce our current expenditure by €87 million and our capital expenditure by €27 million, so in that context the idea that we could just find tens of millions of euros from somewhere to compensate for bad weather is not realistic.”
He acknowledged that farmers were having a very difficult time because of the weather.
“There was more rainfall in the first two weeks of June than there was in the first 2½ months of the year . . . we’ve more or less had two months without a dry day.”
IFA national grain committee chairman Noel Delaney estimated that the bad weather had reduced crop yield potential by at least 300,000 tonnes.
“Torrential and incessant rain, coupled with below-normal temperatures and low sunshine levels, have been taking their toll on crops. Despite increased cereal sowings of 27,000 hectares, we are looking at a potential harvest of 2.1-2.2 million tonnes, which is substantially down on last year’s harvest of 2.45 million tonnes.”
Mr Delaney said farmers were becoming increasingly concerned as there had been no let-up in the conditions. Potential yields were slipping every day. “Hopefully the weather improves dramatically in the coming days or growers will be faced with a salvage operation.”
The latest predictions from Met Éireann suggest that there might be an improvement in the weather. Today is expected to be dry and bright with sunny spells, but there will be a few scattered showers, especially in the north and east.
Dry weather over the weekend and into next week is predicted, with below-normal rainfall and improving temperatures.
Tomorrow is expected to be dry in most parts, with some sunshine and maximum temperatures of 17- 21 degrees.
A warm and humid day is predicted for Sunday, with maximum temperatures of 18-23 degrees.