James McDonnell was speaking ahead of the Teagasc national crops forum at Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare, on Wednesday, which will examine farm finances and the implications of reduced income.
“Planning now is critical to ensure cash flow is adequate for the rest of the season. Teagasc advisors are well placed to help farmers in the coming months,” he said.
Income on cereal farms is expected to reduce substantially in 2016 compared to last year due to the delayed harvest, poor yields and low prices.
The combination of these factors is likely to hit farmers’ cash flow and their ability to meet commitments this autumn and into 2017. Michael Hennessy, head of knowledge transfer for crops in Teagasc, said tillage farmers are hard hit this year.
All tillage farmers have hard decisions to make in terms of income generation and debt repayment over the coming months, with both elements squeezing cash flow.
“The focus of the Teagasc national crops forum is to give direction to farmers during this difficult period,” said Michael Hennessy.
“The crops forum will also address the areas of debt repayments as well as information in assessing critical investments where needed,” he said.
Teagasc economist Dr Fiona Thorne will present a paper on the current income on tillage farms based on data from the national farm survey and a detailed estimation of what to expect in the coming years.
“Armed with the knowledge of the source and scale of future income, this is the best starting place from which to make future decisions,” she said.
The forum will finish with a panel discussion on the financial pressures now facing the tillage industry. Seamus Kearney, Crop Variety Evaluation, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, and Shay Phelan, Teagasc tillage specialist, will address the gathering, along with accountancy and banking industry experts.