At a seminar for farm advisors in Castlebar on Monday October 22nd the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced that permitted stocking rates for each commonage parcel would be available on line within days. Commonage farmers will have to sign up to a collective agreement to ensure adequate stocking on commonage parcels. The minimum number of stock that must be kept by an individual farmer will be the fraction of the commonage that he has declared in 2012 multiplied by the minimum stock number for the commonage parcel. The maximum number will vary depending on the collective agreement between the shareholders.
The enclosed land held by the farmer is not considered in this process, the objective being to ensure that the planned stock numbers are grazed on the commonage for most of the year. The stock numbers will be expressed as ewe equivalents but farmers can meet their obligations with a range of traditional breeds of cattle and sheep. Bringing sheep down for tupping and lambing will be permitted. However keeping lowland breeds such as Texels or Suffolk on enclosed land will not satisfy the commitment to maintain stock numbers.
The collective agreement will be facilitated by a planner. All farmers in a given commonage must use the same planner for this purpose.