Creed: Fodder situation ‘will be closely monitored’ in 2019

The fodder situation will be closely monitored in 2019 to avoid another fodder shortage, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has said.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question on the matter from independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath in the Dáil last week.

Deputy McGrath asked the minister what proactive measures are being taken to prevent a repeat of last year’s fodder shortages.

In response, Minister Creed said the measure is being carefully monitored by Teagasc this year, while at present there are “significant reserves of imported fodder in storage at present” through the fodder import scheme run last year through the co-ops.

“I have also asked Teagasc to monitor the situation carefully in 2019. The most recent national fodder survey conducted by Teagasc on my behalf, in January, indicates that the fodder deficit has receded further.

The most recent statistics show that 73% of farmers have sufficient fodder to meet their livestock’s requirements.

“Additionally, the survey shows a steady decrease in the percentage of farms reporting deficits of over 10% since the last survey in October of last year – 22% in October versus 15% in January.

“Whilst we did see a return to normal growing conditions in the autumn / early winter and provided farmers with an excellent opportunity to replenish fodder stocks, coupled with what has been a mild winter, it is important to stress that there still remains a need for farmers to remain vigilant and avoid complacency.”

The minister said he has urged Teagasc and the other stakeholders to continue their individual efforts in support of those farmers worst affected and in need of help.

“I can assure the deputy that I, together with my officials, will continue to closely monitor the fodder situation,” Minister Creed said.

‘Direct oversight’

In response to the minister’s comments, deputy McGrath said: ““While it is great to see fodder reserves are not depleted, the minister must maintain direct oversight of this issue.

“We cannot have the instability of Brexit in addition to another mismanaged response to the fodder crisis of last year.”