The national marts chair, Michael Spellman has warned farmers that a “severe impact” will be felt if the current retention period for livestock under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS) is not reduced. Mr Spellman called on Minister Coveney to reduce the retention period downwards from the current seven months, due to what he described as “unprecedented conditions” that have hit livestock farmers this year. “Immediate initiatives are required of the Minister at this time,” he said.
“Farmers have not been in a position to buy in cattle and sheep early this spring due to the fodder shortage, and extremely poor grass growth has left many farmers still waiting to purchase livestock as we enter May.” “The retention period to qualify for payment under the DAS was increased from six consecutive months in 2012 to seven consecutive months for 2013, Mr Spellman continued. “The Minister must recognise the extremes that 2013 has brought on all Irish farmers - but especially those in the DAS - and immediately shorten the retention period.