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Editor: Matt O'Kee e Editorial Director: Miriam Atkins Sheep Editor: Gerry Murphy Tillage Editor: Jim O'Mahony
Machinery: Noel Dunne Motoring: Bernard Potter Journalist: Bernie Commins
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Irish Farmers Monthly, Castlecourt, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.
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Copyright IFP Media 2019. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form without the express written permission of the publishers.
JULY 2019
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4 Upfront
8 Business
14 Interview
In her final week in office, we talk to
MEP Marian Harkin
16 Interview
Macra na Feirme's new president,
Thomas Duffy discusses his priorities
19 Education
Dr Helen Sheridan, UCD, on the
importance of the long-term grassland
experiment at UCD Lyons Farm.


48 Management hints

54 Machinery

66 Rural Life

70 Very End
Continuous assault on animal
Fur farming is to be phased out in Ireland under a
bill to be brought forward by the Government. The
move pre-empted a Solidarity-People Before Profit
bill to outlaw fur farming that was due to come
before the DŠil in early July. The `dis-establishment'
of fur farming in Ireland marks another phase
in ongoing campaigns to eliminate many or all
activities associated with fur and feather, scale and
leather, whether they be food production, clothes
manufacturing or sporting related. It's unlikely that
many will protest the passing of an enterprise whose
product has succumbed to an attitudinal change
in society which scorns the wearing of fur. Nobody has, it seems, felt
it appropriate to pour similar scorn on the wearing of clothing derived
from fossil-fuels. If wearing fur is associated with cruelty, wearing
synthetic clothes manufactured from petrochemicals must surely be
harmful to the planet.
On a broader scale, now that fur is passť, can greyhound coursing be far
behind? Can even track-based greyhound racing survive the onslaught of
the righteous animal rights brigade? The recent RTE programme on the
greyhound industry did little to enhance the sport's reputation. Anglers
and fowlers should also be wary of their sports coming under scrutiny.
While these leisure industries and pastime pursuits are hugely important
to the Irish economy, delivering employment as well as foreign earnings
from exports and tourism, they pale into insignificance compared to
our mainstream food production sector, which is also coming under
increasing pressure from animal rights activists. As our increasingly
urbanised and a uent First World societies becomes ever more removed
from the realities of where food comes from and associate it only with
neatly packaged products on a supermarket shelf, we are now witnessing
vitriolic campaigns against livestock farming. Many think the vegan
movement is a transient ideology. However, the ongoing development
of non-meat protein substitutes is now big business and may well herald
a significant change in Western eating choices in the decades ahead. It
must be said that the chemical and industrial processes involved in the
production of some protein substitutes, derived from soil-based fungi
and infused with artificial colourants, emulsifiers and flavourings, can do
little to reassure a health-conscious consumer that these novel meat
substitutes are either natural or healthy. When did such intensive `food'
manufacturing processes become acceptable over natural production
methods practised for thousands of years?
While our immediate concerns in Irish agriculture relate to farm-gate
prices, Brexit and ill-conceived trade deals which encourage the further
erosion of the Amazonian Rain Forest to produce beef for export
to Europe, there are also longer term challenges to be considered
around the very foundations of our food production systems. Irish food
producers are not immune from these challenges. Barring the total
elimination of livestock-based food production, we have a few vital
advantages. Our food quality and traceability standards are credible and
certifiable as are our claims to be producing animal-based food products
in the most environmentally acceptable manner through a grass-based
production system. We are better positioned than many farmers across
the world to meet the challenges to traditional food production which
are now assailing us.
Focus - Animal health
Efficient part-time cattle farm
An introduction to IBR
Impact of nutrition on animal health
Focus - Energy
28 Bright future for solar
30 Wind farming, Irish style
34 Prioritising water quality
Cover image: Macra na Feirme
teams up with AXA to celebrate
Pride 2019. Photo: Paul Conner