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Let's all start growing Grain!?

  • 07-03-2022 4:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,656 ✭✭✭

    Will be very interesting to see what comes out of tomorrows meeting between our Minister of Agriculture and the main stakeholder representatives for farmers of all types nationwide.

    Personally I have only followed the coverage via RTE news and newspapers about this proposal to get every land using farmer in the country to set 5% of their land to grow a cereal crop....preferably grain.....where conditions prevail. The Dept of Agri are confident that as a nation we can get mobilised immediately to accede to this request as the best weeks for seed sowing of said crops occur from now until the end of April. This idea has being floated by the powers that be as they are fearful of the likely shortages of imports of Cereals from the likes of Russia over the next few months and years. Saw a figure that we depended on Russia for something like 25% of our grain to be used in animal feed and the food chain last year. The Ukraine is also a massive exporter of grain Worldwide. To be fair we do need to plan for an increased production of Cereal crops here in the coming years.

    It was said in the Weekend commentary in media that we among many other Nations did the same thing when there were serious food shortages during WW2.Except you were expected to utilise more than 5% of the land mass available to you, if your family had 2 acres or 200 acres they were encouraged to grow crops that would feed the family and neighbours to get them through the War years. As there was very little mechanisation present on farms back then most work was done by hand with shovels and lays etc. Naturally if you had a farm in an area with poor quality soil you were not expected to grow Cereal crops like made sense to grow potatoes, cabbage etc on poorer soils....and farmers with better quality land were able to grow cereal crops to be redistributed around the country.

    However our current Govt.... no doubt influenced by the Greens do not seem to be going for a similar system to that adopted during WW2.They are not taking account of the fact that farming practices have totally changed since 1945!

    For a start back then most families had enough land for maybe 1 cow to milk for the house on poorer farms,and reared a few sheep or pigs, and had hens to provide eggs for the house etc.

    More affluent farmers in areas with better quality land tended to have bigger farms so might have had 10 cows for example and sent some milk to the local creamery, grew grain or sugar beet or other cereal crops and sold what they didn't need for themselves .Even larger farms were not really mechanised back then, they just employed labourers at harvesting time to help save the grown crops.

    Imo it is idiotic and totally going against all efficient farming practices for the Govt to propose to farmers who have marginal to downright poor quality land to 'set aside' 5%of same to grow cereal crops. Firstly they have no experience carrying out this type of farming, there would be very few contractors in their Counties with the harvesting equipment to harvest these crops....and given the wet or marginal land the crops are coming off the first thing a combine harvester would do on entering a field would be to sink!!

    Naturally even if this mad proposal went ahead the crop yields in the areas along the Western Seaboard would be poor as well in comparison to if the Govt used their heads and gave greater dispensation to farmers in the mid midlands and the sunny south east with its free draining soils to return some of their lands to the Tillage which were traditionally grown there. A lot of these farms have changed to Dairy farming and would need an agreed level of financial support from Govt to gradually return some of their arable land to tillage. They would need to be allowed to use targeted fertiliser usage to get good crop returns. At the same time farmers on marginal land which tends to be dominated by sheep farming,suckler farming etc would continue with those practices which they specialise in but might be encouraged to grow a crop of potatoes or cabbage or another suitable vegetable to decrease the pressure on importing the same products in the years to come.

    In case it comes across that I'm asking for people with good land who have left tillage to go into Dairying to forget all their investment and return to a more tillage based enterprise again, I am not!!.....just saying that with the help of realistic Govt funding they could increase the Tillage crop output on their farms to help offset the shortages in imports we will experience form Russia in the future.

    Am a drystock and sheep farmer myself in Mayo, have some good limestone ground but well over half the farm is marginal to poor land with plenty of rushes growing on it they count as a crop?:)

    It would make no sense for example to expect the likes of me to put 5% of my land into growing Grain the only bit of decent feeding ground I own is littered with rocky outcrops of good luck to anyone thinking of saving a catch crop there!

    Would be interested to think what other farmers be they engaged in Dairy, Arable, Sucklers, Drystock, Sheep farming etc with good or bad or in between land think of this Govt idea....and how it could work going forward??

    The reality is we will need to follow well thought out steps to make the country more self sufficient as regards having food for the population and animals grown here, thus reducing the dependence on imports but personally I think that this particular Govt proposal is very poorly thought out and unrealistic.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,980 ✭✭✭893bet

    This strikes me of the government campaign at the start of Covid to get medical professions back to Ireland.

    ”come home and work here as doctors and nurses, we will take care of ye”

    I understand what transpired was a mess for those who did return.

    anyway I have fields of rushes that would look great as a paddy field for rice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,218 ✭✭✭✭Nekarsulm

    "Where conditions prevail" is the crucial sentence.

    And in 1940 I thought everyone had to comply with the Compulsory Tillage.

    8% of your land area, I believe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 444 ✭✭eastie17

    I genuinely think they do some mad "brain storming" sessions up there in Leinster house. Nothing wrong with that, it happens in the private sector as well but most of the ideas dont survive the original session because:

    • They have to be workable and affordable
    • There are consequences to peoples careers, and subsequently their livelihoods, if they go to senior people with mad half baked ideas
    • The public sector needs some of those consequences to stop them coming up with these mad **** ideas hat just waste everyones time and just fill up column inches from the media and distract everyone from trying to provide realistic solutions to our problems.
    • Someone said to me before, and its true that if its wasn't for self employed people (and obviously including farmers in that) and the multinationals and the structure and investment they have brought in, we'd still be back in the 1950s as anything we come up with ourselves as an elected body has been **** useless. We thrive somehow in spite of them

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,774 ✭✭✭Lime Tree Farm

    Last week it was prohibiting ploughing grassland, this week it's compulsory ploughing being bandied about. Anyway there aren't enough trained plough horses to be got nowadays. Though there may be an old wheel plough stuck in a headland somewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 272 ✭✭mary 2021

    tractors plough most of our fields these days the horse only does the ploughing competitions as a visual and nostalgic thing of beauty !

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,783 ✭✭✭✭patsy_mccabe

    Well, Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe, for good reason. Will a crop get sown there this year? Even if it is, it's in Russia interests either way, to destroy it.

    'When I was a boy we were serfs, slave minded. Anyone who came along and lifted us out of that belittling, I looked on them as Gods.' - Dan Breen

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,774 ✭✭✭Lime Tree Farm

  • Registered Users Posts: 272 ✭✭mary 2021

    yes but we still have diesel in the pumps and as to enough horses its enough trained horse handlers you need to worry about. Handling a horse & plough is serious skill i know as my grandfather had a pair so not everyone can do it well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,760 ✭✭✭Effects

    Farmers already talking about not having the seed. Having some diesel stored, but not enough, and hiding what they do have in case it's taken. And then workers who are afraid to go into the fields.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,779 ✭✭✭paddysdream

    Think tomorrow's meeting will amount to the sum total of f**k all .

    Thats unless they are actually serious in which case its the first time in a generation they need us more than we need them .If concessions are to be got they should be long term ones ,none of this "lets see after December " sort of stuff .

    Where is everyone getting the compulsery tillage thing ?Thats a complete non runner at this stage .A lot of spring crops are sown as well as a fair bit of expensive fertiliser spread on grass .

    Will it end up in the usual announcement of 100 million for Irish agriculture headline but when you look at the detail its most likely 500/1000 euro after you spend the best part of whats promised .

    Perhaps Charlie might ask his party stalwart and also a former Minister for Ag from Donegal about how she closed an industry that supported a serious amount of tillage farmers .

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,826 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    The over riding sentiment in Western Europe, society and politics, is a giant fu7k you to farmers and the very notion of food production.

    The thought of global food shortages and revolution will not be enough to change that.

    Would 500 an acre set grain on the good field I have in mind?

    Will I get compensation for the problem it causes my operation to have that under other use.

    I won't and I know I'll still get cut in the Sfp, still face into dodgy grading when cattle are more plentiful etc etc etc etc and fooking etc again.

    This sheepdog has been kicked too many times and is not willing now to run up the mountain on an empty gut, to take one for the team, again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,281 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Another brain fart brought to you by a bunch of pen pushers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,826 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    There is a necessary logic in it, if targeted correctly.

    However as you say..

    As for non tillage, beef and lamb, a lot of dairymen, this year will be about reducing output for a lot of people, nevermind increasing and adding essential grain.

    The risk is all one side, the reward getting harder to hit, the support to compensate for cheap food whittling away at a rapid pace.

    The powers that be could get a shock yet this fall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,215 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    Of course that giant fuk you to farmers is there. For so long now if it was a bit to costly back home there was always an impoverished country ready to supply the goods. Now the world is starting to fill up too fast and the strain is becoming noticeable

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,195 Mod ✭✭✭✭K.G.

    We can plant away but there be nothing in it without fertiliser

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,717 ✭✭✭chooseusername

    Well, my curse attend you Charlie, you have me nearly robbed

    you’re sitting by the fire side with your dúidín in your gob

    Sitting by the fire side from the clear daylight till dawn

    And now you want the grass-men to plough their Rocks of Bawn.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,684 ✭✭✭jaymla627

    Spent two hours getting a neighbour out who sunk in this quagmire today with slurry tanker , the thing is while this is a fairly extreme of the soil type around here, if you attempted to plough 90% of the ground in the parish here today you'd go to the hole in it, its no more than kite flying by Charlie to be honest and a get out of jail free card when the proverbial hits the fan next winter

    Post edited by jaymla627 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭farawaygrass

    Rocks of bawn, an excellent song, one of my favourites.

    I was seriously contemplating putting one field in barley before any of this news hit the airways

    worried about price of straw next year more so than anything but also it suits to level a field and an older man was telling me it’s easier level ground after a crop.

    One thing is for sure, if there was any value in stones Id be retiring very early

  • Registered Users Posts: 95 ✭✭nklc

    We’re some grumpy bunch on here these times. The shortfall from Ukraine in Europe will be sorely felt. Growing grain for your self would be beneficial for many, if they have a way of harvesting and storing. Personally I’d like to be able go back to basics and grow some

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,521 ✭✭✭✭Say my name

    This has all been a combination of ngo's who hate livestock farming in Ireland and grain merchants/agronomists who have the ministers ear. Result..

    Public relations plastering in the media before this meeting.

    Ruminants can be fed without grains. Maybe we should be looking at that and improving forage and mineral content of forage.

    Whatever of the pig and poultry sector.

    Another thing. We may be an island but I'm sure if there's a shortfall it can be made from US or south America.

    Lord knows our whiskey comes from US corn already.

    It's a green initiative to close off agricultural imports and agricultural exports. There's a utopia believed in that we're an island not only in the world but isolated from the planet.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭farawaygrass

    Is there no Irish grain in out Irish made whiskeys?

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,521 ✭✭✭✭Say my name

    It's a mixture. There were whiskeys available from individual farmers but now I believe that may be waning and blends coming in with corn from God knows where.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,907 ✭✭✭amacca

    Well I think I'd rather reduce down the amount of stock I'd have to feed rather than go down the route of growing grain to try and support yhe same numbers

    I don't have the machinery, manpower or money.

    1) I'd need to plough it, probably spray it beforehand (definitely if I just going harrowing and hope for the best)

    I can spray but the spray will cost money

    The contractor will cost money

    2) I'd need a drill, seed barrow or spinner and seed

    They will cost money, in diesel as well if I'm borrowing barrow and or contractor charges

    3) I'll need it sprayed (possibly more than once?) ...

    That will cost money, contractor etc

    4) I'll need it fertilised if I want any yield

    5) Then I'll need it harvested when it's got the right moisture content....when every other bolox caught up in this imaginary clusterfuck will want it and only a couple of combines in the area

    That'll cost money (and lots of stress watching the ideal conditions slip away and seeing yer man arrive out a week later in a **** monsoon and beach the thing in a field or else wait another 6 weeks for a chance while it's been eaten in the field)

    6) then I'll need it transported to a mill to be dried/rolled?

    That'll cost money

    7) then I'll transport it back and have to find a suitable place to store it where the rats won't eat it

    That'll cost money in diesel, bait, time and possibly a storage area....I'm assuming 6/7 acres won't fit in a couple of jfc bins......

    8) then I'll need it returned to original condition with same levels of N P and K and reseeded with all the costs associated with that

    All this in a time when fertiliser costs are going through the roof an diesel will probably be trebled by the time it's been done (conservative estimate)

    Would love to know what the combine men think of traipsing in and out of every pokey field in the country

    I sure as **** won't be doing it with a scythe and making sheafs of it

    It's not even kite flying, it's retarded imo and makes no sense

    Why would I take that on even if yhey said they would pay for it all......and they aren't stupid enough to do that so if it did go ahead and I don't for a second think its feasible you would be taking on huge costs for questionable returns .....

    And if its been flown so they can wash their hands next autumn it's a poor attempt imo.....

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭lalababa

    I'm sure there's a good few fellas after going out of arable the last few years..who could go back this year for a few extra bucks from de Gov. And I'm sure there's a good few fellas with top land who have facilities/contractors neighbours close by, and wouldn't mind a few hectares in wheat for a few bob. And I'm sure there's a fair few fellas that could do with a few acres reseeded ...and a few Bob!

    So , yeah highly doable. We're not talking about a fella in Sligo with 150 mountain acres and 10 acres wet meadow that hasn't been ploughed since de famine!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,931 ✭✭✭farawaygrass

    I believe there is no flour mill anymore in Ireland so if true, growing extra wheat is a lost cause

  • Registered Users Posts: 95 ✭✭nklc

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,473 ✭✭✭FishOnABike

    I think Waterford distillery make whiskey from single origin Irish grain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,907 ✭✭✭amacca

    The idea floated was that it would be are aware if that right? And you presumably know what the word compulsory traditionally means?

    If I have the choice I definitely won't be, there would be zero sense to really only makes sense for a big lad with most of his own machinery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,971 ✭✭✭tabby aspreme

    There may be a small amount imported but 140,000 tonnes of malt is produced from Irish barley in Athy each year, the malting plant there underwent a big expansion recently, it supplies Guinness, Heineken, Jameson, Bushmills and numerous small brewers and distillers

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,323 ✭✭✭Dunedin

    I sowed barley (and linseed) on the first year of glas. 1 hectare. Sprayed off meself, contractor ploughed and I gave it two cuts of rotavator, 2 bags of 18-6-12 per acre, shook seed with fertiliser shaker, ran chain Harrow over it and rolled it and out the gap. Probably 6-7 hours of my time in total.

    albeit good upland field it grew a serious crop of barley. I know feck all about tillage but on the back of my glas experience, I could live with doing it again but only in the glas wbc. Haven’t the land base to have another 3 acres in tillage.

    not sure what my costs would be doing it myself as above with contractor ploughing but I’d surely have a bit left if grant was a €grand per acre 😊😊