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Noel Dunne
Machinery Editor

‘If you ate today, thank a farmer

Well, readers, I know it is probably not a good idea to start this column with a moan but that is just the mood I am in as I write this. So, I am just going to go for it.

The farming industry is one of the most regulated industries out there – Department rules, spot inspections, eyes in the sky, directions from Europe, the Nitrates Directive, CAP reforms, changes in farm practices, sustainability issues, environmental issues, price structures for farm commodities, price fluctuations, lack of labour units, rising input costs. Now, that is a long list, and I could go on.
The funny thing is that over the last few weeks and months, you can hardly get out on the bloody land to farm it, let alone break or comply with all these rules and regulations.
Some out there might be of the view that farmers complain a lot; well, this is what I have say to them. What if the roof was taken off their place of employment and they were asked to work under all weathers? What if they were paid on their performance only? I think that there would be a very quick understanding of how farmers and agri-workers feel. This is what they face daily. The roof is clearly non-existent in farmers’ workplaces and they must endure whatever is thrown at them. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears go into putting our food on the plates. If you ate today, thank a farmer.
As we look forward to the National Ploughing Championships this month, which is a celebration of all that is good about Irish agriculture, some of us may be wondering if there is much to celebrate? The harvest is almost complete, yes, but the counting of costs may well lead to some dire reading at the back end of this year. Experiencing good and bad years is par for the course in farming, but the bad ones seem to be cropping up much too often. Farmers, however, are resilient, the ultimate survivors. We fight on for another day.
Now, down to business. There is a surge in interest in the organic farming sector with more farmers set to register again this year, and an expectation that this sector may double year on year. The growth in solar and wind farms in Ireland is starting to gain traction, too, with applications and expressions of interest starting to increase. This is good news for the sector and our alternative-energy plans.
There have been a number of recent developments in the machinery sector. Pöttinger Ireland has announced the appointment of Igoe Agri & Engineering in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon as a full line dealer for grass and tillage equipment. Furlong Equipment Services, the well-known Laois dealer is now Knight sprayer distributors for Ireland, and they will cover sales service and support for the brand.
As new tractor sales took a dip in July by 32 per cent year-on-year – 102 units fewer than in July, at 219 units – the total number of new tractors sold in Ireland so far this year is 1,667 unit,s up to and including July.
The Northern Ireland market is up by 32 per cent in July but back 2 per cent year-on-year; and 352 new units are registered to date this year compared to 360 units in the same period last year. In the UK, the total number of new tractors sold up to July is 7,874 units, which is a 7 per cent increase from January to July last year.
And finally, there is a lot of talk lately about cash being king and keeping it in circulation as much as possible as we have become so used to tapping and going. I take my hat off to a public house that has recently decided to charge €5 for a pint of Guinness if you pay with cash, or €5.50 if you pay with card, owing to the associated costs involved, and charges. Four pints for €20? I could definitely live with that. 

Until next month, farm wisely and farm safely. Oh, and see you at the Ploughing!