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Teagasc Co-ordinate Meeting on Flooding

Teagasc co-ordinated a meeting of representatives from DAFM, farming organisations, agricultural co-ops, OPW , Veterinary Ireland and agricultural media to review the impact of flooding on farms and to agree actions to assist those affected.

At the meeting in Athlone today, 14 December, Peter Leonard, Teagasc Regional Advisory Manager said that in excess of 700 farmers across the country had some land affected by flooding in recent days, with up to 200 farmers having some silage stocks damaged and up to 50 farms with tanks flooded.

Dermot McCarthy, Head of Advisory Services in Teagasc said that Teagasc are very conscious of black spots that are severely affected by flooding and felt that an inter agency approach was the best way to help farmers in the current situation. He stated that Teagasc had set up a helpline for both farmer clients and non-clients to access the help of advisers. The phone number 076 111 3555.

The meeting agreed that a nationwide list of worst affected farmers should be compiled immediately. Teagasc will work closely with farming organisation and co-ops in compiling this list and will allocate advisers to visit all such farmers over the coming days. Teagasc will work closely with farm organisations who will maintain a register of farmers willing to contribute fodder for farmers who have suffered heavy fodder losses. Another agreed action was the production of an information booklet by Teagasc dealing with personal safety, animal housing, animal feeding, animal movement and flooding of slurry tanks.

In relation to the cost to farmers, the meeting heard from Teagasc experts how modern machinery can be badly damaged by continuously driving through water as seals and bearings are not designed for these conditions. In addition modern machinery contains electronics which are easily damaged by water. For a farmer with 40 cattle who has lost half his fodder, the additional cost of purchased concentrate would be in excess of €1,000 for 5 tonnes of meal per month.

At the meeting, representatives from DAFM said that their number one concern was the health and safety of farmers followed by animal welfare concerns. They have issued guidelines which allow for movement of animals where there are animal welfare concerns. DAFM stressed they were keen to assist farmers and stated that no farmer would be penalised under cross compliance because of storm damage.

Advice is available from the Department of Agriculture at www.agriculture.gov.ie. DAFM helpline numbers, CallSave: 076-1064408 or Phone: 01-6072379