I am in favour of the new lime subsidy. Some have suggested it’s relatively cheap, and why subsidise what farmers should be doing anyway. The facts speak for themselves. We are currently only applying 50% of our national lime requirements.

In addition, 80-85% of our soils are testing sub-optimal for major nutrients such as soil pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Lime is key to unlocking soil fertility, and allows farmers the chance to meet new environmental and nature targets.

Efficient nitrogen use starts with correcting soil pH. We can double nitrogen efficiency by correcting soil fertility (pH, P and K) thus reducing fertiliser nitrogen use and reducing costs. Don’t leave it until autumn - apply now if you can.

Common sense needed with rewetting

Minister Charlie McConalogue’s statement this week about the proposed laws in the pipeline on rewetting and the related subsequent threat to food security are welcome.

Speaking at the EU council of agriculture ministers, he said in order to progress the targets of the proposed regulation, which include rewetting vast swathes of land, all EU financing instruments must be utilised.

In other words, we can’t keep stealing from the CAP budget to deliver more and more public goods. The comments echo Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski in an interview we ran before Christmas.

However, we also know that the balance of power in Brussels has shifted from DG Agriculture to DG Health. The need for accurate data and measuring is crucial, and no more pressing than here in Ireland.

It’s hard to believe we don’t know whether many large land parcels are flooded, drained, already rewetted etc.

Vegetable producers dwindling

Did we ever think as food and agriculture progresses into 2023 that we would be short of carrots in Ireland? Surely as the number of professional growers in Ireland falls, year after year, and can now be counted on one hand, the penny must drop.

This week, the IFA is highlighting the plight of potato growers who, similar to carrot producers, are now getting few and far between. The news that field vegetable production is to fall by 7% this year will not come as a surprise to anyone.

While demand for the precious potato has dropped, price hasn’t risen and farmers can’t be expected to take on all the risk for little reward as costs spiral.


One would have expected, given the challenges experienced across the water of late in the horticulture sector, that a really special focus is needed on this Island to reinforce new technology, but also a realistic price that growers need to attain to stay in the game.

At the moment, the supermarkets seem to call the shots. The supermarkets laud sustainability, but this is sustainability at its most basic level. Margin is crucial for survival.

Consider all your options before selling entitlements

There is an amnesty for 2023 and 2024 on the 20% clawback when selling entitlements. The intention by the Department is to make it more attractive for those considering selling entitlements. There is definitely more interest in selling given the amnesty, the reduction in entitlement value and the shift towards flattening. The best advice is to look at all options and make sure you consider the taxation implications.