IRISH FARMERS JOURNAL Saturday 23 December 2017 S
14,500 wait on GLAS payments WILLIAM CONLON To date, there are 36,000 GLAS participants who have received 2017 advance payments, according to Department ﬁgures. The total value of these payments is €124m, with €12m issuing in the last week up to December 15. “The Department is currently reviewing all GLAS cases where issues have arisen that have impacted on the GLAS participant’s payment. Further payments will issue this week and payments will continue as cases pass the suite of checks required before payment can issue,” according to a Department spokesperson. This means that there are still approximately 14,500 farmers who are yet to receive 2017 advance payments. “Many of the cases that have not been paid could not be paid, as a nutrient management plan (NMP) had not been submitted by advisers in respect of GLAS I and II participants,” the spokesperson said. “In cases with commonages, a commonage management plan (CMP) has not been submitted by the participant’s adviser. In addition, annual Low Emission Slurry Spreading forms have not been returned or they were not correct. Also rare breed forms are outstanding in many cases that include these actions. “The remaining cases are currently being checked against the Department’s databases and once these cases pass validation checks will be included in future payment runs. Where action is needed by the participant concerned, the Department will be in direct contact with them.” As of 15 December, there were still 2,200 NMPs outstanding, while there were also 1,750 CMPs also outstanding. GLAS records With GLAS inspections ongoing it is important to ensure all record sheets for the scheme are up to date. You must record the LPIS number where actions were carried out. Each GLAS action has a section in the sheet and different information will be required depending on the action carried out. For example, for bird boxes, the sheets look for the LPIS number, the number of boxes installed and maintenance carried out, if any, including date of installation of boxes. All record sheets should be retained for the duration of the contract.
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8,000 farmers yet to complete GLAS training WILLIAM CONLON According to ﬁgures released by the Department of Agriculture to the Irish Farmers Journal, there are still at least 8,000 farmers from GLAS I and II who are yet to complete the required training course. According to Department figures, over 29,000 GLAS scheme participants have attended courses to date. In excess of 5,000 GLAS participants are also scheduled to attend courses in the near future. The Department stated:
“GLAS I and II participants must attend a GLAS training course by 31 December 2017, as set out in the scheme terms and conditions. Failure to meet this requirement will affect future GLAS payments. There are under 37,000 participants in GLAS I and II.” Additionally, there are 13,500 participants in GLAS III who are required to attend a GLAS training course by the end of 2018. The failure of farmers to carry out a GLAS training course will result in the sus-
pension of all future GLAS payments until proof is provided that they have attended an approved course according to the terms and conditions of the scheme. In a positive boost, payments for GLAS training courses have begun to issue to farmers. “Payments in respect of each GLAS participant who has attended a GLAS training course have commenced to GLAS trainers, with payments valued at over €3.1m issued to date,” the Department said. This would equate to 19,620
farmers receiving their €158 payment, with a further 9,380 farmers who have completed a training course yet to receive payment. In relation to payments to advisers, the Department said: “The payments to GLAS trainers will issue when the submission of proof that their client farmers have received their payment is submitted. Subject to the required validation checks being passed, these payments are expected to commence in mid-January.”
25% of applicants ineligible for National Reserve It has been revealed that 25% of applicants to the 2017 National Reserve are ineligible for the scheme. In a statement, the Department said: “Some 1,300 applications were received under the National Reserve in 2017. Some 330 of these applications did not meet the eligibility criteria and were unsuccessful or were withdrawn. The Department is working with individual applicants in relation to processing remaining applications where outstanding information is required to process the application or land details are being ﬁnalised. “Seven-hundred-and-ﬁfty applications under the 2017 National Reserve have been cleared for payment to date, with payments of some €2.8m
having been made”. The main reason for ineligibility, according to the Department, was that 75 farmers had already beneﬁted under the 2015 National Reserve. Under EU regulation, a farmer is only allowed to beneﬁt once from the reserve. A further 70 farmers did not qualify as they did not meet the educational qualiﬁcations required. For 60 applicants, their oﬀ-farm income was in excess of €40,000; hence they did not qualify for the scheme. A total of 35 farmers did not meet the entry date requirement, with the majority having commenced farming prior to 2010. Twenty-ﬁve farmers qualified under the National Reserve, but did not have naked
land or low-value entitlements on which to allocate National Reserve entitlements of topups. Twenty applications were also withdrawn from the scheme. Finally, a small number of cases did not submit a 2017 BPS application and therefore were ineligible. “All of the above cases have been given an opportunity to appeal and submit further documentation in support of their appeal,” according to the Department. Looking to 2018, there has been no deﬁnitive answer as to whether there will be a National Reserve Scheme or not. “A decision regarding the National Reserve for 2018 will be considered following an analysis of the funding available when all eligible appli-
cants under the 2017 National Reserve have been catered for.” Young Farmer Scheme A total of 9,950 applications were made through the Young Farmer Scheme (YFS) in 2017. “Over 7,000 applications under the 2017 YFS are cleared for payment to date with payments in excess of €15m having been made,” according to the Department. This still leaves a substantial 2,950 applicants who are yet to be paid. Delays are in part due to eligibility inspections. With a 5% inspection rate necessary, this would account for less than 500 of the overall applicants, which does not explain the remaining 2,450 applicants.
SWS 15% top-up in early 2018 The remaining 15% payment in the Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) is set to take place in early 2018. According to IFA livestock chair John Lynskey, a total of €16m has been paid out so far to 20,986 participants under the advance 85% payment. “Application forms for year two will be circulated early in the new year, with a return date of 2 February 2018. [It] is very straightforward and farmers in the scheme will only be required WRFRQoUPWKDWWKH\ZLVK to continue to participate in year two. The declaration will also be available online,” he said. Regarding new applicants, Lynskey said: “The scheme will be open to new entrants in 2018. A new entrant is GHoQHGDVDQDSSOLFDQWZKR KDVDSSOLHGIRUDQHZpRFN number from 1 January 2017 and prior to 31 December 2017 or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two-year period up to 31 October preceding the scheme year. The DeSDUWPHQWDOVRFODULoHGWKDW based on the EU regulations, it is not possible to reopen the scheme in 2018 for those who were in sheep but did not apply in year one.” Finally, with regard to the scheme reference number, Lynskey said: “The reference number for farmers in the scheme will remain as when they entered the scheme. The only scope for increasing numbers in the scheme is on foot of a GLAS commonage plan.”
Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer – all the facts SEAN COFFEY On the night of 24 December, Santa Claus will visit farms throughout Ireland delivering presents to children, who will hopefully be tucked up in bed. But what do we know about reindeer? What are the biosecurity measures that farmers should carry out to prevent the spread of disease when these animals enter your farm? More of that later. Reindeer are part of the deer family, so they have hooves, long legs, a compact body and antlers. Unlike other deer, both male and female reindeer grow ant-
lers. These antlers are shed once a year – the males lose them in November, the females much later; therefore, all of Santa’s reindeer must be female. They are herbivores and use their antlers to dig in the snow to ﬁnd food, often referred to as reindeer moss. The females usually have one calf per year, the gestation period being seven-and-a-half months. Fully grown males weigh 100kg to 240kg; the females are much lighter. They were one of the ﬁrst domesticated species in the Arctic some 2,000 years ago and were used for food, clothing and materi-
als for shelter. They are a social herd animal and herds can reach tens of thousands. Unfortunately, due to global warming and human endeavour, such as mining and oil drilling, their habitat is reducing and now they are on the vulnerable list of species. Reindeer are obviously built for the cold. They have hairy hooves. In the summer, there is increased bloodﬂow down to the hooves so they expand, making it easier for them to travel on soft ground. In the winter, the hooves contract with the cold, but the narrower hooves are better for travelling on frozen ground.
In Arctic conditions, when reindeer breathe, it is important to heat the freezing air before it hits the delicate tissues of the lungs. Their noses have an enhanced or engorged blood supply to heat the air as they breathe in, so their noses are the warmest part of their external – hence, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. In the Arctic, tribesmen used to celebrate the winter solstice by eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. These mushrooms may have also found their way to some of the reindeer they were herding. Between the jigs and the reels, it became common
knowledge that reindeer could fly and that is when Santa asked the reindeer to help him on his trip every Christmas. By the way, a brandy foot bath is perfectly acceptable as a biosecurity measure. Happy Christmas from the vets of Ireland. Sean Coffey works at Mulcair Vet Clinic, Newport, Co Tipperary. Mulcair Vet Clinic is part of XLVets. XLVets is a group of progressive practices who are working together to achieve a better future for agriculture and veterinary in Ireland. For further information go to www.xlvets.ie.