McConalogue rules out temporary changes to GLAS

Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has ruled out temporary changes to the Green Low Carbon (GLAS) agri-environment scheme as a way to close any forage shortfall this year.

Independent TD Michael McNamara has called on the minister to authorize the temporary adjustments which he says would allow farmers on the scheme to cut more hay and silage.

Speaking at the Dáil yesterday (Thursday, May 26), the representative of Co. Clare said:

“Farmers with low-input permanent pastures cannot cut hay and silage if they are in GLAS. The minister is trying to get them to do it, but they can’t.

“Will they, temporarily for this year or as long as this fertilizer crisis lasts, be allowed to cut silage?

“Similarly, traditional hay meadows can only be cut once because the cut can only take place after a certain delay. [July 1]. Will this deadline be brought forward to allow for a second reduction this year? McNamara asked.

In response, Minister McConalogue said he wanted to ensure farmers received payments from schemes such as GLAS.

“It is important that the conditions of the plans are met to ensure that the income is available.

“If we can get farmers to do what they normally do and grow the grass as well as they normally do, using the land they have, we will be in a good position next year,” did he declare.

The minister highlighted the recently announced silage support scheme, which will reward farmers with a payment of €100/ha for all cut silage up to a maximum of 10 ha.

“We all know that by next March or April we won’t be able to grow grass or do much forage here. As Minister, I will not be able to import fodder as I could have done in previous years.

“We don’t have that safety valve. We also cannot be sure that we will have the safety valve of increasing the grain fed to livestock to alleviate a shortage of forage, because we cannot be sure that there will be an adequate supply of grain available,” said McConalogue.

“What we can do is work now to grow grass, silage and hay. This is why the department [of agriculture] and my ministerial colleagues and I are working with farmers to support them in preparing for next winter and spring by setting up the fodder system.

“My message to farmers is to keep doing what they are doing, in terms of real intensification. It is very important that we recognize that now is the time to act to prevent the challenges that will come in winter and winter. next spring,” he added.

MP McNamara also asked whether Minister McConalogue had sought to reduce or remove EU tariffs on fertilizer imports.

“I asked for this. It is disappointing that we have not yet taken action on this, but I have asked for it, ”replied the minister.

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