753 responses already submitted for fodder census

A total of 753 survey responses have already been submitted to the national fodder census being conducted by Teagasc, it has confirmed.

Details of the Teagasc / Inter Agency Fodder Census for July 1 were announced at the Teagasc BEEF 2018 open day in Grange, Co. Meath, on Tuesday last, June 26.

The fodder census was officially launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. A second census is planned for September 1.

The survey incorporates: the number of stock one intends to keep this winter and their requirements; silage already in the pit and what is expected to follow; bales; whether a surplus or deficit is expected; and additional farm enterprise questions.

Joe Patton, a dairy specialist at Teagasc, said that it is imperative that all farmers do a fodder budget in the next few weeks. Resilience to adverse weather must now be built into feed plans over time.

While first-cut silage yielded relatively well this year, emerging drought conditions may result in lower than expected second-cut yields; this will have to be accounted for in fodder budgets.

In deficit circumstances, options such as selling low-performance stock, contract feeding of young stock and sourcing alternative winter feeds – including forward purchasing of straights (soya hulls, beet pulp or palm kernal meal) – should now be explored in detail.

The relative cost difference between purchased silage and concentrate feeds is relatively small, according to Teagasc.

Also, moderate changes to stock numbers can have a marked effect on reducing winter feed demand.

Further information on the census can be found on the Teagasc website.