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Noel Dunne
Machinery Editor

‘You can only play what is in front of you’

Well readers, as I sit and compile this month’s column, the rain is pelting down in buckets outside.

I am cold. The ground is cold. The cattle in the field beside me are standing with humps on their backs with the cold. Although autumn has just landed, it feels as though winter is truly upon us. There are floods everywhere, machines are lying idle, and farmers are taking stock of the harvest – the crops, in some cases, that have been lost or not even sown yet. Maybe it’s just that I am writing this on a cold, damp, miserable morning that has me starting with a negative attitude, but that is just reality. We can’t be upbeat all the time, and that is OK! It is hard times on man, woman, machine and stock.

Our World Cup dream is over, beaten by that great rugby and, indeed farming, nation New Zealand. In the fields in Ireland, our own World Cup of farming is being decided by fine margins influenced by weather and prices. It’s funny how life and sport sometimes throw up similar results. There are the highs of the harvest and commodities prices that are cause for celebration, but then there are the lows – and we have had some this year – that cause us to lament what could have been, as we are forced to embrace defeat. The great Moss Keane former Irish and Lions rugby star once said to me: “You can only play what is in front of you.” This, my friends, is so true. We must fight and take on the elements, ruck and maul and scrum down with commodities prices, and put ourselves in a position to score whenever the chance presents itself.

Results, no matter how small, are really what it is all about at the end of the day. Whether it is filling the trophy cabinets or the grain sheds, we aim to compete, embrace, and win. But the great thing about life and sport is there is always another day. We will get back on the training grounds again and back out in 

the fields again – when they dry out – and, most importantly, we will compete again!

Now down to the business in hand! More than €450m made its way to farmers’ accounts recently as part of the basic payment income support scheme (BISS) and the complementary redistributive income support scheme (CRISS).  With 103,764 farmers qualifying for this, it works out at an average of €4,336 per farmer. All is very welcome.

There is a call out for a payment to be made to tillage farmers who lost crops this year owing to the bad harvesting conditions. According to the IFA, approximately 4,500 acres of various crops were not harvested this year. The IFA recently met with the agriculture minister about targeting those farmers most affected. While €8m was allocated in the budget for compensation, this is not enough to offset losses in the sector. We will wait and see the outcome. There is talk of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine rolling out a tillage-expansion and sustainability scheme. At time of print, that was still at the discussion stage but anything that can help and develop the sector will be welcomed.

Mandatory ATV training is to come into effect later this month, which is fantastic news. These machines need to be treated with respect and operators need to know how to handle them properly.

I see the first two biogas tractors were sold here recently. M&S machinery delivered two New Holland T6.180 methane-powered tractors to Green Generation based in Nurney Co. Kildare. They have replaced diesel models and will be used for tanker and trailer work.

Finally, many congratulations to Eamonn Treacy and John Whelan on retaining their world ploughing titles in Latvia last month. 

Until next month, farm safely, farm wisely.