Supplementary feed costing Antrim farmer £10,000 a month

Supplementary feed is costing a Co. Antrim farmer £10,000 (€11,440) a month as he struggles to make it through the extended winter.

Ballymena dairy farmer Stephen Crawford told BBC NI that this winter has been the worst he remembers.

Crawford runs a 200-cow milking herd along with his father William on his 250ac farm, and estimates he will need six week’s worth of silage to get him through the worst of the weather.

The cold and wet weather this year means his cattle have had to be be housed longer than normal.

’85 was meant to be bad, but it was nothing compared to this. The problem is that the rain is continual – it’s rained since the middle of July and it hasn’t stopped really.

“I would say it’s costing me £10,000 a month more in feed. Now we can sort of work with that if [the weather] turns and gets going again, but I just don’t know where we’re going.”

Support in the Republic

The issue is more pronounced south of the border where the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has allocated €1.5 million towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support measure.

This measure – which has been introduced with immediate effect – aims to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage, etc) from outside the island of Ireland.

The scheme will operate through the dairy co-operatives and will cover forage imported from April 5 through to April 30 and will be subject to EU State Aid (de-minimis) rules.

If you have been affected and would like to get in touch with an AgriLand reporter email: [email protected].