‘7 out of 10 farmers are short of feed to varying degrees’

A total of seven farmers out of 10 are short of feed to varying degrees across the country, according to Teagasc’s Dr. Siobhan Kavanagh.

Earlier today, the Interagency Fodder Committee – of which Dr. Kavanagh is vice chair – published the results from the most recent fodder census.

Also Read: National fodder deficit currently stands at 3 million tonnes

In a fodder and finance guide produced by Teagasc for 2018/2019, Dr. Kavanagh said: “As we face into the winter, seven out of 10 farmers are short of feed to varying degrees across the country – with the worst hit areas in the south and south-east of the country.

“It is important that farmers establish the deficit on their own farm.

Doing this task with an advisor or consultant, can help relieve some of the stress associated with this situation and often a solution becomes obvious.

“Aside from sourcing feed, other issues that need to be addressed include: finances and maintaining cash flow; ensuring you have enough bedding where straw is in scarce supply; and checking that there is adequate feeding space on the farm to facilitate restricting access to silage and feeding meals.

“Even if you have enough feed for the winter, it’s important to regularly re-assess what you have because no one knows what weather conditions will be like in the autumn or spring,” Dr. Kavanagh added.

She noted that Teagasc advisors across the country are “available to provide advice to farmers, clients and non-clients alike over the coming months”.

Farmers are encouraged to contact their local office if they need assistance.

Teagasc’s fodder and finance guide is set to be available to pick up at the National Ploughing Championships as well as in local Teagasc offices across the country.

The booklet also stresses the need for farmers not to ignore the risk of an early winter or a late spring, stating that “a surplus of two bales of silage per livestock unit at the end of the winter is a valuable asset”.