Grain harvest now a 'salvage operation'

Incessant rain has meant up to one third of grain remains in the ground

Grain harvest now a 'salvage operation'

This year's harvest has turned into a a salvage operation for many growers with later sown and later maturing crops, particularly on the heavier soils in peripheral areas due to heavy and incessant rain.

In some regions, between 25 and 30 per cent remains in the field. The West, North West and the northern part of the country have been worst hit.

“Many growers are at their wits end as the rapid deterioration in weather has stopped the harvest and the forecast remains bad for the week,” said IFA National Grain Committee chairman Liam Dunne.

He said that later sown and later maturing crops, particularly on the heavier soils, were beginning to break down after recent torrential rains and heavy winds.

“In some cases, ground conditions are becoming a problem. Even where harvest is complete, many farmers are struggling to bale up straw and clear fields,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that crop losses will mount with each passing day and this will add to an already deepening income crisis for many growers.

“Merchants and the grain trade must step up to the mark and support grain farmers through a fourth difficult year as current grain prices offers are significantly below the cost of production,” he said.

Glanbia Co-OP has said that it is writing to its grain grower members, outlining details of the Glanbia Advance Payment (GAP) Scheme for grain.

The GAP Scheme provides interest-free cash flow support to member suppliers in periods when market prices are weak. Over the next five years, up to €5m of interest free cashflow support is available to Glanbia grain supplier members from Glanbia Co-operative.

Participation in this voluntary scheme will allow members draw down cash flow support from the Glanbia Advance Payment Scheme when the market price for grain falls below specific levels or “price triggers”, set annually by the Board of the Society. The price trigger for the 2016 GAP Scheme was a December 2016 MATIF (Euronext exchange) price available before 31 July 2016 of less than €180 per tonne for wheat. As this price trigger has been reached, an Advance Payment is available for oilseed rape (OSR), beans, green and dried grain supplied from the 2016 harvest.

For participating grain suppliers who are members of the Society, the voluntary Glanbia Advance Payment (GAP) Scheme (2016 Grain) will operate as follows: The Advance Payment on 2016 grain, oilseed rape (OSR) and bean deliveries is set at €20 per tonne on a maximum volume equal to the member’s 2015 supply of harvest products (cereal grains, OSR and beans); The trigger for a grain reimbursement to the GAP Scheme is a MATIF (Euronext exchange) price of €205 per tonne of wheat occurring after 31 July 2016. Once the price trigger is reached, reimbursements of the Advance must occur within 12 months; If not repaid earlier by virtue of market price movements, all monies advanced in 2016 to participating members will be recovered between January and December 2020.

Participation in the 2016 Glanbia Advance Payment (GAP) Scheme (2016 Grain) is voluntary by members and is subject to Glanbia credit assessment.

grain screening call

Meanwhile, ICSA president Patrick Kent has called for increased screening of all imported grain before it can go on sale to Irish farmers as rations. “We are seeing raised levels of detrimental elements such as black grass seeds and sterile brome in rations comprising imported grain. Rations contaminated with black grass seeds and sterile brome contaminates the land through the resulting infected dung. We need to look at stricter importation regulations including more inspections at ports to weed out such inferior by products,” he said.

“We would like to remind farmers that possibly the best option for them is to buy feed from other farmers locally where possible,” he said.