Payments under the Fodder Transport Support Measure commenced this week, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

On Tuesday, July 17, a total of €162,000 issued to some 286 farmers, the department spokesperson added.

This equates to an average payment of approximately €566/farmer. Further pay runs will be put in place as required.

Details of the Fodder Transport Support Measure were initially announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, in January of this year.

In the beginning, the rates for the fodder subsidy were €12 for a 4X4 round bale of silage/haylage and €8 for a 4X4 round bale of hay/straw. The transport contribution on other standard-size bales was to be calculated pro rata, the department explained.

In order to avail of the haulage subsidy, the transport distance needed to exceed 100km.

However, the regulations governing the scheme were amended in April. As part of these amendments, the required transport distance was reduced from 100km to 50km.

As well as covering bales of hay, silage, haylage and straw for feeding at the previous payment rates, the amendments allowed for farmers to apply for support for the transport of pit silage.

The department announced that pit silage would be eligible for a transport contribution of €8/t – once it was transported between April 5 and May 7.

Straw for bedding, fodder beet and meal were never eligible under the scheme.

In order to receive a financial contribution towards offsetting the costs of transport on their fodder shortfall, farmers had to identify a shortage by completing a fodder budgeting exercise with an agricultural advisor.

The measure was originally scheduled to end on Monday, April 30 – but it was extended until Monday, May 7.

Going by the initial payment run, the average payment amounts to approximately €566/farmer.

This equates to support for the transport of almost 50 4X4 round bales of silage/haylage or about 70 4X4 round bales of hay/straw or around 70t of pit silage.