NOVEMBER 2018 Contents Editorial AVAILABLE ONL THROUGH Y Carbon tax an outdated concept It was good to see a little common sense, even if election driven, in relation to dropping the expected Carbon Tax increase in the recent Budget. Carbon taxes are blunt instruments that take no cognisance of individual circumstances or the general impact on the economy. Rural dwellers can make a genuine case that Carbon Taxes impact more on them than on any other sector of society. To work, to play or to socialise they need an internal combustion engine. Electric cars will solve the problem eventually but only when the technology delivers viable, affordable vehicles. In tandem there needs to be a revolution in terms of the production of electricity from renewable energy sources. It is well past time for some positive thinking in regard to reducing fossilised carbon use. Instead of more taxation what is needed is a total commitment to the generation of micro-renewable energy in this country. Joined up thinking in regard to allowing excess renewable energy production to be fed back into the Grid would be a good starting point. Photovoltaic electricity production is tailor-made for renewable energy generation on farms, most especially on farm buildings. The case for a viable strategy to drive anaerobic digestion (AD) has been made but has yet to be acted on to the extent of encouraging farmers to become fully involved in cooperative AD production to generate the necessary scale. The models are readily available from other countries. There may be positive developments before year end but that is by no means certain, especially if an election gets in the way of political decision making. We need a balanced approach to the extent even that the continuing over-reliance on the establishment of large scale wind turbine electricity production needs to be re-examined. Wind-driven renewable energy is clearly seen as the quickest fix to meeting our renewables targets. But a well balanced portfolio of different renewable energy sources is clearly the most effective long-term strategy. The ESB is committed to eliminating fossil fuels from its electricity production model by 2030. That’s only 12 years away. More needs to be done to make any of these targets a viable reality in little over a decade. Just when we need a surge in forestry planting the numbers committing to afforestation continue to diminish. Little more than half of the target planting took place this year. At the 2018 rate of planting it would be 2118 before we reach the target of 18 per cent of Irish land being afforested – if ever. The importance of doubling our forestry resource cannot be overestimated. Trees are a renewable energy resource and must form a key aspect of our stated intention of weaning the Irish economy off fossil fuel consumption. It is not a matter of ‘either/or’ forestry or cattle production. There is ample severely underutilised land available for planting without any reduction in our cattle herd. For 2019 another €103 million has been committed to support tree planting. Some of that money is carried over from this year’s underspend. That in itself suggests that our entire farming structure needs to be changed. The resistance to any change whatsoever in farming profiles and practices is stymying the development of Irish agriculture and land use. The economic case for forestry is unchallengeable, yet farmers on marginal land, losing money in their existing enterprises, refuse to countenance any change to a more viable model. Even the idea of contract rearing livestock for other farmers is meeting with strong resistance in many quarters, including from some politicians who should know better. Doing the same thing year after year and expecting a different result is not a realistic strategy to deliver a long-term viable income. @farmersmonthly /irishfarmersmonthly NOVEMBER 2018 Up for the Alltech challenge FARM SAFETY FOCUS – BEST PRACTICE AND PRIORITIES FOR 2019 REDUCING PIG FEED PRODUCTION COSTS & MAXIMISING EFFICIENCY 4 Upfront 8 News 11 Business News 14 Cover story: Mark Lyons 16 Ireland’s €1bn Dairy Merger 19 Education 52 Management Hints 58 Machinery 68 ICMSA 69 Rural Life 73 Motoring 74 Very end Pig Focus 26 Small steps, big impact 29 Reducing pig feed production costs 30 Pig producers waiting for an ill wind Safety Focus 36 In safe hands: FBD’s priorities 38 A safe Embrace 49 Safety in numbers Editor: Matt O’Keeffe Editorial Director: Miriam Atkins Sheep Editor: Gerry Murphy Tillage Editor: Jim O’Mahony Machinery: Noel Dunne Motoring: Bernard Potter Journalist: Bernie Commins Design: Niall O’Brien Production: Ciaran Brougham Martin Whelan Michael Ryan Barry Sheehan Advertising Manager: John Sheehan Commercial and Advertising Manager: Anna Douglas Accounts: Gill Curtin Administration & Subscriptions: Sue Nolan Chief Executive: Rebecca Markey Printing: W&G Baird Publishers: IFP Media Subscription: €40 per annum Irish Farmers Monthly, Castlecourt, Glenageary, Co. Dublin. Tel: +353 1 7096900 • e-mail: • Copyright IFP Media 2018. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form without the express written permission of the publishers.