Written answers

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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176. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to address the potential grain and straw shortages this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23307/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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I understand early estimates from industry suggest that a challenging environment for tillage production this year. However, the area of crops cannot be confirmed until my Department collates and analyses Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS) data later in the Summer. 

Last year, I initiated a new  Tillage Incentive Support Scheme as an additional support for increasing area of tillage and which was highly successful last year and which I have made available again this year.

Notwithstanding any potential change in area, a changed profile with less winter sowing's of crops last autumn and which are generally higher yielding in both grain and straw will likely lead to a decrease in grain and straw production in 2023 when compared to 2022. 

A shortage of grain internationally is not anticipated however and prices have fallen in line with absence of supply concerns. The majority of straw is sold for bedding with lesser amounts to the mushroom industry and for feeding.

In recent years, I introduced the Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM) and despite some strong concerns, there was sufficient straw to meet industry needs. I will continue to monitor the situation over the coming months.  

Notwithstanding the above, maintaining the current tillage area with an ambition for further growth is an important strategic objective of my Department. This is highlighted in the Food Vision 2030 Strategy and more recently in the Climate Action Plan where a target has been set to grow the area under tillage crops to 400,000ha by 2030.

To achieve this objective, I recently established the Food Vision 2030 Tillage Group, and I hosted its first meeting on Thursday 11th May 2023.  This group will bring together all relevant stakeholders to set out a road-map for the sustainable growth and development of the sector to 2030. 

I have tasked the group with providing a detailed plan and recommendations by the end of July with a final plan to be submitted during the final quarter of 2023.


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