Covid-19 restrictions have meant that the normal trading of livestock has experienced severe disruption and farmers now have to feed more stock than they had originally allowed for.
As a result, there is a higher demand on grass and therefore, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), have been asked for flexibilities to nitrates regulations.
Denis Drennan, chairperson of ICMSA’s farm and rural affairs committee, has asked the DAFM to ensure that farmers are not financially penalised for exceeding the 170kg of N/Ha or 250kg of N/Ha during this time.
Carrying more stock for a longer period
Drennan said, “Given the severe impact of Covid-19 on livestock and meat markets, it is very likely that farmers who normally sold cattle at specific times of the year will end up carrying more stock for a longer period than they had intended because of COVID-19 and due to no fault of their own.”
“As a result of that situation, farm stocking rates could exceed the 170kg of N/ha and 250kg of N/ha limits which would normally result in a financial penalty for that farmer. Quite clearly, Covid-19 is a Force Majeure event and ICMSA is asking the Department to adopt a flexible attitude to these limits given the current circumstances.”
The farm and rural affairs committee chairman stressed that farmers are forced to carry these extra livestock units and in the interest of fairness they should not be penalised for what is out of their control.