Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Compliance with the Nitrates Directive and Implications for Ireland: Discussion (Resumed)

Mr. Sean McNamara:

The biggest problem in the tillage industry is the conacre price. It is hard to compete against dairy farmers. In my line of business, namely suckler farming and sheep, straw is very important. Around me, it is now €35 per round bale, if it can be got. In fairness, there is a major welfare issue concerning suckler farmers. They cannot get straw to bed their cows and calves. If the weather is good, there is some chance of putting a cow out to feed it. However, the weather is so bad now that you can let out nothing. There is nothing but muck and dirt everywhere so there is a big welfare issue.

Many of the smaller tillage men are going out of business completely because they cannot compete given the cost of producing crops. The bigger operators are probably getting a little bigger, but many small operators are moving out of tillage altogether. I see this in my part of the country. Something seriously needs to be done about the sector.