Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

IFA calls on Department to extend flood relief

The Department of Agriculture will not be extending the flooding emergency aid programme to horticultural and tillage farmers whose crops have been hard hit by this year's series of winter storms.

Pat Farrell of the IFA's Horticultural section expects more reports of low crop yields due to winter storms over the next few weeks and has called on the Department to rethink their exclusion of crop and vegetable growers from the €2m fodder and emergency flood damage relief scheme.

Mr Farrell highlighted the case of one Cork farmer, who was down €75,000 after his crop of Brussels sprouts was destroyed by bacterial rot before Christmas.

He had earmarked this money to finance the production costs of the next growing season.

Nationwide, many field crops were affected by this year's weather with vegetable crops like Brussels sprouts and carrots and over wintered potatoes taking significant hits, but crops like winter barley escaped the worst of the impact, said Teagasc horticultural adviser, Stephen Alexander.

He stressed that specialist growers were hardest hit. "There is only so often that a farmer can go to his reserves before the question of growing the crop again arises. Then the question of importing these vegetables will arise," he said.

Mr Alexander blamed climate change in large measure for the current problems.

"This year we had an unusually warm start to the winter and then we had the rains. What happened was that many of the root crops especially sprouts, just rotted in the ground and some farmers are out thousands as a result," he added.

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