Beef: Five week delay for the Basic Payment is totally unacceptable
As I sit here writing this column, there is steam coming out of my ears, because, like a lot of other farmers, we still haven't received our Basic Payment.
It is now more than five weeks overdue. To me, that is totally unacceptable.
There was an issue with a dual claim back in May. When we were notified by the Department about this, we responded immediately. We got no further correspondence on the matter.
So when I went to the Ploughing I made a beeline to the Department stand. There I spoke to a very helpful person on one of the basic payment stations. They brought up my application on the computer, went through everything, said all was in order, as someone else had written in to say it was they who had made the dual claim in error. The net effect meant ours was now clear for payment. I went away happy.
When our payment didn't arrive as anticipated, I rang the helpline. After a long period of time, I got to speak to a person. As far as they could ascertain, our payment is being held up because of map digitisation.
If, as we have been told by the Department, that our application has been cleared for payment, surely the common sense thing to do is pay the 70pc and, if there is any adjustments to be made because of digitisation, sort that out with the remaining 30pc.
From speaking to other farmers, it seems that I am not the only one who was told that everything was hunky-dory but they are still waiting for their payment.
Switching to other matters, as has been our practice for the last few years, we spread some lime on a few fields before the weather turned.
Our soil samples tell us that some of the land doesn't need any lime and some does so, every year, we have been spreading some. The fields we spread this time needed from 2-4t/ac.
All the fields have been closed up now.
The weather really turned fast. We went from thinking we wouldn't have to house cattle 'til near Christmas to trying to get them in almost immediately. With the volumes of rain that fell in such a short space of time, land got wet very quickly.
The first few days that the cows and calves were in was a bit worrying as despite our sheds being quite airy, it was humid and we couldn't but help worry about health issues in the calves.
But that seems to have passed quite quickly. They have settled in well now and are starting to eat a bit of ration. We will try and get them up to about 1kg/hd a day as quickly as we can.
There are still a few cows bulling but, so far, I haven't seen any repeats. So, fingers crossed, all is going well on that front.
We are now settling into the daily routine of feeding and bedding. At the moment, the cows are on a diet of 1.7kg oaten straw, 38kg silage with a DMD of 73, and 2.8kg meal, which is made up of .4kg soya, a dairy mineral and the remainder is home-grown Maxammon-treated barley and oats.
We also use a 4X4 round bales of barley straw to bed every 20 cows.
All last year's heifer calves which are due for finishing out of the shed are on a growing diet at the moment.
This is made up of 18kg silage at 77DMD, .7kg wheaten straw and about 5kg of a mix of a beef mineral and Maxammon-treated barley, oats and molasses.
These heifers are approximately 450kg liveweight at the moment. The first chance we get now we will put all these heifers through the crush, trim their tails and grade them out into groups, by size and breed.
We will be selling the first of our under 16-month bulls this week. It's always an anxious time.
Looking at them in the pens, in my opinion, they seem to have plenty of cover on them but you can never be sure until they go down the factory line.
The winter barley is due a spray for BYDV and weeds. But, looking out the window at the moment at the wind and rain, I think we will have to put that on the back burner for a while.
Robin Talbot farms in partnership with his mother Pam and wife Ann in Ballacolla, Co Laois.
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