Poll: Will parts of the country suffer a fodder shortage this year?

Following sustained bad weather since late summer, livestock farmers in northern and western parts of the country have had it pretty rough in recent months on the fodder front.

Between trying to save silage and having to bring animals into sheds earlier than normal, weather conditions have not been kind to many farmers in the north and west.

On account of this, many farmers in these parts have already utilised a significant amount of their fodder supplies feeding stock indoors.

Have you got enough fodder to get you through the winter period?

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With this in mind, AgriLand had a look at what fodder is costing in the north and west – for farmers to replenish their supplies ahead of the winter.

A mix of straw, haylage, hay, whole crop silage and grass silage is currently being advertised on DoneDeal – with prices ranging from €22/bale up to the equivalent of €36/bale. However, these prices depend on fodder type, quality, if it is wrapped or not, and if transport is included. All bales recorded are standard round 4X4 round bales.

Beginning in Co. Donegal, oaten straw is currently on sale for €30/bale. In the same county, silage can be bought for €23/bale.

If you expect to be short of fodder this winter, what part of the country are you in?

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Meanwhile in Co. Roscommon, haylage is priced at €30/bale, while another seller is offering hay for €35/bale. For the latter, transport is included in this – with the price varying depending on distance.

A Co. Mayo seller prices bales of silage at €25 a pop, while silage bales are on offer in the Athlone area of Co. Westmeath for €22/bale.

In Co. Galway, one vendor is offering both haylage and silage for €25/bale, while another seller in the same county has silage for sale at €22/bale.

A Co. Monaghan seller values his bales of silage at €25 each. In Co. Longford, one individual – located near the Cavan border – is offering haylage for €30/bale, while another seller in the same county is also pricing first-cut silage bales at €30 each.

Northern Ireland

Moving onto counties in Northern Ireland, bales of silage from one seller in Co. Antrim are priced at €27/bale (£24), while a separate vendor advertised his silage for £32/bale, which works out on current exchange rates at €36/bale. The latter’s silage is said to be first cut and double-wrapped.

Whole-crop silage – a mix of oats, barley and grass – is offered in Co. Derry for £30 (€33.75) from one seller.

Silage bales in Co. Armagh are currently being offered by one individual for £22 (€24.75) each; while in Co. Fermanagh, bales of this year’s second cut silage are going for £25 (€28.10) a pop.

Finally, in Co. Tyrone, silage is priced at £20/bale (€22.50) – the cheapest of the Northern counties.

Potential shortage

Will farmers be forced to buy in extra fodder? According to Teagasc advisor Damian Costello, of Teagasc Athenry, it could go either way. At the minute, situations are reasonably okay, he said.

Some people got caught with their second cut silage when weather took a turn for the worse, but most of them got it in. In addition, some farmers have a carryover of fodder from last year.

However, winter has started earlier this year – some farmers have had at least some of their cattle housed for six weeks, and in parts up to two months, he added.

Should this combine with a late spring, some farmers will have to look at bringing in extra fodder, Costello explained.