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Teagasc National Crops Forum to Focus on Machinery Costs

Teagasc National Crops Forum to Focus on Machinery Costs
Speakers at the Teagasc National Tillage Crops Forum 2017 from (L to R) were: Oliver Molloy, Department of Agriculture and the Marine; Prof. Frank O'Mara, Teagasc; Seamus Kearney, Cereal Testing Unit, Department of Agriculture and the Marine and Mark Plunkett, Teagasc.

The Teagasc National Crops Forum, which is taking place in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare today, Thursday, 7 September from 2pm to 5.30 pm, will focus on machinery costs on tillage farms.

Machinery can account for as much as 40% of the total costs of growing a cereal crop in Ireland. In an era of tight margins tillage farmers are looking at ways to reduce these costs. “Tillage farmers are working larger areas and most have machinery over-capacity so that work can be completed in narrow weather windows, particularly at sowing and harvest time.  The level of investment needed to sustain the capacity is substantial and is increasing costs of production,” said Michael Hennessy, Head of Knowledge Transfer for Crops in Teagasc. “The focus of the Teagasc National Crops forum is to offer alternatives to farmers particularly in relation to machinery ownership. A farmer cannot make a decision on new machinery investment without firstly knowing their current costs,” he said.

Shay Phelan, Teagasc Tillage Specialist will outline the results of work carried out by Teagasc advisors on machinery costs on tillage farms. “The results show a large variation in machinery costs for farmers running similar systems and of similar size,” said Shay Phelan. “The results also highlight again that increasing scale does not reduce machinery costs,” added Shay Phelan.

Stephane Diard, a farmer from France, will address the forum on how machinery sharing works in France through the CUMA structure. Stephane Diard is the secretary for his CUMA (CUMA les Boudinieres), a machinery sharing group located close to Angers in North West France.  This CUMA was established in 1980 and now has 40 members. It covers a 30km radius, with between 4,000 and 5,000 hectares of land farmed by the CUMA members.

Oliver Molloy from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will update the forum on the new TAMS investment scheme and will offer advice to farmers on how to make a successful application.  

Looking forward to the next cropping year Seamus Kearney, Crop Variety Evaluation, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will update the forum on the latest variety trials which will help growers to pick the variety best suited to their farm. James Nolan from Halls will look at the outlook for grain prices for the 2017/18 season.

The forum will finish with a panel discussion on whether farmers should be investing in machinery on tillage farms in the present climate. The speakers will be joined by Dermot Forristal Teagasc researcher, Declan McEvoy tax advisor IFAC and Ciaran Hickey Teagasc advisor to give their views and answer questions from the floor. 

The forum is a DAFM approved Knowledge Transfer Tillage National Event for farmers involved in discussion groups and IASIS points are available.

All farmers and industry personnel are welcome to attend.