Flood-hit Donegal farmers urged to report their losses

The damage caused by flooding.
The damage caused by flooding.

Farmers in Donegal have been urged to report losses and damage to their local Department of Agriculture Office and Teagasc branch.

As they continue to count the costs of the freak floods that wreaked havoc in the county, farmers have also been advised to keep receipts of all weather damage repairs.

MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Marian Harkin have called on the European Commission to investigate possible emergency aid for the region.

"As the estimated costs of the flooding are currently in excess of €400m it was highly likely that the affected area would qualify for aid, and I have therefore asked the Minister (Kevin 'Boxer' Nolan) to start the ball rolling," said Ms Harkin.

Michael D'Arcy, Minister of State with responsibility for insurance, urged householders, farmers and businesses to get an independent assessor to look at their claim, which would help ensure a payout.

The IFA has also helped organise transport of fodder donated by farmers to the farms of those badly affected by silage and hay losses, such as Michael Gubbins in Buncrana who lost 106 bales and his second cut of silage.

IFA chair Michael Chance said they had received a positive response from Agriculture Minister Michael Creed towards potentially helping with the cost of repairs. Mr Chance urged farmers to report losses to Teagasc as they are compiling a list of the damage.

"The priority is to ensure the repairs are carried out before the winter takes hold," he said. "All farmers need help with funding to carry out repairs. The big expense items are diggers and fencing materials - a huge amount of fencing has been swept away."

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Meanwhile, progress on the harvest has been slower in Donegal, the west and midlands, with ground conditions delaying cutting.

However, the end of the harvest in the south and east is in sight as farmers made the most of the dry conditions over past week.

Under 10pc of the main grain crops remain to be cut in the east of the country. However, up to 15pc has yet to be harvested in parts of Cork.

Sprouting in spring wheat is reported from Cork to Kildare, with the warm, moist weather prompting sprouting in ripe crops. There are also reports of fusarium in spring barley.

However, farmers are generally satisfied with yields. Winter wheat has yielded between 4.5t/ac and 5t/ac in most areas, and up to 5.5t/ac has been reported for exceptional crops.

In the Kilkenny region, winter oats crops yielded 3.5-4t/ac, while spring barley varied from 3.25t/ac to 3.75t/ac.

Grain prices remain stagnant, with very little trade reported.

The market has not been helped by talk of bumper harvests in Russia, with the crop expected to top 130 million tonnes.

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