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The impact of the Ukraine war on Jim McCarthy’s Farming Business in Romania

On the Teagasc Tillage Edge podcast, Irish farmer Jim McCarthy, gives his insights into the effects of the Ukraine war on his business in Romania and how his business is involved in helping the refugees who are fleeing from the conflict.

Jim McCarthy, Managing Partner in Southern Harvest Romania, who is farming close to the border with western Ukraine told Michael Hennessy, Teagasc; “We have our farm minibuses at the border transporting Ukrainian refugees to airports and other destinations”.  Jim McCarthy added; “We are also using our existing staff accommodation to house mothers with young children and also permanently catering for a large group of people with special needs until the war is over”.  Jim McCarthy said he will continue to do this as long as there is need.

Jim is very conscious of the local sentiment towards Russian soldiers following the soldiers’ treatment of the local population in the Second World War.  Jim added how the war is influencing local opinions “Romanians are strongly supportive of the countries membership of NATO and the protection this offers.”

The supply and sale of goods from Jim’s business has been affected but good planning during last year allowed the business to build sufficient stocks of fertilizers and other inputs on the farm.  On the sale of grain, Jim commented; “It pays to store and hold grain for sale late into the season, which has allowed the business to take advantage of the sharp increase in prices this year”.  Although there were some concerns about exporting grain through ports in the Black sea, this has eased and exports of grain from Romania through Constanta port is continuing.  

Jim’s business has reacted, both to the cost of fertilizers and the increased forward price of grains, by reducing the area of maize and increasing the area of soya and sunflowers.  In tandem with this, Jim told the Tillage Edge Podcast; “In the past few years we have worked hard to increase P and K soil levels on the farm and have applied over 30,000 tonnes of lime with the result we can reduce the amount of fertilizers applied this year.”

According to Jim McCarthy some farmers in western part of Ukraine have started to plant crops and apply fertilizer, however, this is not the case everywhere.  Jim said; “The most productive land, with the largest farms, is in eastern Ukraine and given that the major part of the war is happening there, farmers in that region are going to find it difficult to plant spring crops.”

Finally, Jim added that although there are large volumes of grains to be exported, the Ukrainian government have banned exports for the moment.  “Even if they could export, the infrastructure to do so is now in question,” Jim added.

The full interview on the Teagasc Tillage Edge podcast with Jim McCarthy can be found below:

For more episodes and information from the Tillage Edge podcast go to: www.teagasc.ie/thetillageedge