May 222013

The President of the ICMSA Mr. John Comer, has welcomed the announcement by Ministers Coveney and Hogan of amendments to the Nitrates Regulations to support fodder production.

Minister Coveney has announced an extra two weeks to the chemical fertiliser application period to the 30 September 2013 and also provision to discount the first half tonne of concentrate feed per dairy cow or equivalent when calculating the overall level of Phosphorus allowed on grassland farms in 2013 and 2014.

Mr. Comer said that while this is a welcome recognition of the current situation he stated that it must be kept under review because the most practical and cost efficient solution to the fodder difficulties is a farmer being able to produce quality grass on his/her own farm.

He concluded by stating that fodder importation is not a long term option or solution and Mr. Comer repeated his call that no farmer be  penalized for any fertiliser application to promote grass production over the next 12 to 18 months.