Farmers will be included in measures focused on energy bills – Tánaiste
September 22, 2022
The Tánaiste has said that farmers will be included in any scheme to reduce energy bills.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska in Co Laois, Leo Varadkar said there will be Government help with energy bills that will apply in a number of weeks.
However he warned that there is only so much they can do to help with bringing down bills as it is a global issue beyond their control.
He also said the Government will keep some resources in the tank as they do not know how long this energy crisis will continue.
Responding to the latest statement from the Russian president Vladimir Putin, Mr Varadkar said Ireland will continue with the help being given to Ukraine.
He said that if Mr Putin was successful in Ukraine, it would not stop there.
“We saw this before in Europe in the 1930s and the 1940s,” he said. “Historically governments in the West took far too long to stand up to terror and tyranny and we can’t afford to make that mistake this time.”
Irish firms finding new ways to cut costs on farms
Meanwhile, amid the cost of living crisis, many Irish companies have been coming up with new ways to help cut costs and increase efficiency on farms.
60 Irish companies are showcasing their products and innovations at the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships.
Brothers Lloyd and David Pearson of Kildare-based Pearson Milking Technology have developed a system to help prevent farmers from overfeeding their cattle – and wasting money.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Lloyd explained how the system works.
“Our latest invention is called Bullseye.
“It provides a real time Body Condition Scoring of dairy cattle which is based on an automated visual inspection of the fat around the pin bones of the cow,” he explained.
“Basically, we are using a camera system with self learning algorithms to calculate the Body Mass Index or BMI of the cow,” he said.
David said this can bring great efficiencies to the farm.
“Body Condition Scoring is usually done around three times a year on a farm and this is to find any issues with cows where you may have to correct feed amounts.
“Our system is positioned at the milking parlour, and so the cows are coming in twice a day, so we are getting to see the cows twice a day everyday.
“If any issue is detected, it will be sent directly back to the farm in real-time for the farmer to make an immediate decision to correct feed amounts,” he explained.
David said the use of the system can bring many benefits for the farmer.
“The cow gives less problems during calving because they are in good condition, it leads to better milk quality – and there are improved fertility rates.
“In general, the cow is a much healthier and happier cow,” he said.
Pearson Milking Technology was named overall winner of the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards, which took place ahead of the Ploughing Championships on Monday afternoon.
The rising price of fertiliser is another issue impacting farmers right across the country.
Brandon BioScience, which is based in Tralee, County Kerry has developed a product that both saves farmers money and is good for the environment.
“Brandon BioScience is a marine biotech company and we specialise in the production of biostimulants derived from marine biomolecules,” said Deirdre Wall, Marketing Manager at the company.
“For those not familiar with biostimulants, they are solutions that are naturally occurring and they stimulate natural processes in plants.
“Our product, PSI362, stimulates nitrogen uptake and utilisation in the plant,” she explained.
Ms Wall said they are coating fertiliser with their product, which increases its efficiency and allows farmers to use less fertiliser.
“This allows farmers to use 25% less nitrogen, while still maintaining yields,” she explained.
As a result, Ms Wall said she believes this product could help farmers when it comes to achieving their climate change targets.
Hundreds of Irish businesses will be exhibiting at the National Ploughing Championships this year, and will be hoping to attract the attention of the 300,000 visitors expected to attend – and the buyers.
The event was cancelled for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and James Maloney, Senior Development Adviser for Agritech, Climate and Sustainability at Enterprise Ireland said they are delighted to be back on site.
“The Ploughing Championships is the premier focal point for the industry, and we have really missed it for the last two years.
“Yesterday, we had 102 international buyers in from 19 countries and they were blown away by the innovation.
“We have spent two years talking online but that human céad míle fáilte contact that we have when we all come together is brilliant,” he said.