IFA President Tim Cullinan said the tillage scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture on Tuesday is a small step towards encouraging more grain output in 2022.
He said the target of an extra 25,000 hectares is very modest. With full take up, it would be an increase of less than 10% on what was grown last year, which was approximately 300,000ha.
“This scheme, along with the establishment of the Food Security and Fodder Committee, is not going to address the real issue which is the cost and availability of inputs,” he said.
IFA Tillage Chair Kieran McEvoy said tillage farmers will be stretched to produce what they normally do, never mind increase the land planted.
At current prices, it will cost an extra €100 a hectare in diesel alone to produce grain.
“Farmers need more cuts in excise duty and in the carbon tax. It’s critical that sufficient agri-diesel supplies are available during the key spring and summer months when planting and harvesting of crops takes place,” he said.
Only 7.5% of the Irish agricultural area is devoted to crop production. It’s important that any further decline is halted and future policy decisions must aim to restore the cropped area to at least 11% of the agricultural land area.
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