Why are farmers who applied for GLAS being penalised with late basic payments?

Some of the ram lambs that were on show at a South of Ireland Blueface Leicester Sale in Ballinrobe. Photo: Conor McKeown.
Some of the ram lambs that were on show at a South of Ireland Blueface Leicester Sale in Ballinrobe. Photo: Conor McKeown.

Tom Staunton

The dry and mild weather over the past few weeks has been more than ideal for both ewes and rams. I sold a further remaining 50 mule wether lambs last week - they averaged 19.5kg and graded Rs and Us.

These were finished off grass with no concentrates all year. I was quite happy with the way they thrived over the last month. The tail-ender lambs that are left are still at grass and are being fed a coarse ration twice a day. I hope to have all these gone by mid-November.

The Lanark Blackface rams have recently been let out with some ewes to breed replacements. Some of the best ewes in the flock have been let to the Lanark rams.

This is to ensure that quality replacements are produced from proven ewes that had plenty of milk and reared lambs well over the years.

This year we AI'd some purebred Lanark ewes to some of the most recognised Lanark Blackface rams in the breed including the famous £90,000 (€125,000) Dalchirla, Geordie and £11,000 (€15,200) Midlock.

These were AI'd last week and we are hoping to have some top quality rams and ewes for both sale and retaining from these.

We are always looking to improve our sheep and we had a trip to some of the main Blackface sales in Scotland to learn a bit more and see what the standard was like there. Our first stop was to the Lawrie and Symington livestock mart in Lanark that looked more like a hotel than a livestock mart.

It's a fine building and the organisation and auctioneering at the sale was impressive. The main sale in Lanark had some tremendous sheep that made up to £50,000 (€69,500) but also had some sheep that wouldn't have had me rushing for the chequebook.

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I also travelled further north the following day to Dalmally to see 1,150 rams sold. The area was very similar to West Mayo and Galway with rolling hills and lakes and Gaelic speaking areas also. Their Gaelic is very similar to ours too. The sale was a sight to behold.

What was even more impressive was seeing a ram from Dalchirla sell for £160,000 (€222,300) - money that would buy a farm here. The lads and I were afraid to look at the auctioneer just in case he thought we were bidding!

I met the owner of the Nunnerie flock from whom I purchased the semen that I used on the ewes. It was nice to put a face to the voice over the phone.

The sales were a real family affair. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and grandparents were present and were all involved in preparing and presenting their sheep for sale. That's something that is not seen too often here.

The families took great pride in their stock which was refreshing to see.

Basic Payment Scheme

The Basic Payment Scheme payment (BPS) has arrived for many farmers but ours is yet to arrive.

I have been told that my application for the new GLAS scheme has delayed my BPS due to files awaiting digitising.

Payments can be delayed for many reasons but this is something that should have been avoided.

I'm not the only farmer in this situation - it is unfair that farmers who applied for GLAS are been penalised with late payments. This should simply not be the case.

Tom Staunton farms in Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo

Indo Farming

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