While the new fodder transport scheme to assist livestock farmers severely affected by the prolonged wet weather conditions has been widely welcomed, there are calls for further support measures.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue today (Tuesday, April 9), announced the introduction of a new Fodder Transport Support Measure.

The scheme, operated through the co-op network, includes differing subsidy rates for hay, fodder beet, straw and silage for feeding which has to be transported over 75km.

Support measures

Senator Tim Lombard said that while the scheme is “good news for farmers”, he believes there are “more immediate things that can and should be done” to relieve the burden on farmers.

This would include extending the looming closing date for derogation applications and banding submissions on Friday, April 19, as well as the timelines for Bord Bia inspections, he said.

An extended deadline for the submission of Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) applications would also “help to take some of the pressure off” farmers, Senator Lombard said.

The Fine Gael spokesperson on agriculture said there also needs to be some “flexibility around regulations and paperwork” to further support farmers, as well as mental health supports.

“Farmers are under pressure for fodder and storage, while ground conditions are appalling. Everything is a worry and it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

“I have spoken in the last week about the importance of looking after our own mental health and that of our neighbours and friends in the wider farming community.

“We need to pick up the phone, go for a coffee, get off the farm for a couple of hours and talk to each other,” Senator Lombard said.


The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) also welcomed the scheme which it said will help alleviate some regional issues where fodder availability is challenged due to the wet weather. 

ICOS believes a number of targeted measures are “urgently required” to support farmers in addition to the scheme, recognising the difficulties facing farmers due to the adverse weather.

Flexibilities in relation to driver hours for hauliers during April need to be introduced, ICOS said, considering the “significant demand” on co-ops and merchants related to the delivery of feed and the low level of fertiliser movements thus far this year.

The level of fertiliser movements needs to “increase substantially” during April to meet normal demand, ICSO said and called for a “pragmatic approach” in relation to haulier driver rules.

The organisation also reiterated its call for a government-matched rebate on feed, mirroring the support already provided by co-ops.


The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Francie Gorman said the transport subsidy scheme to assist farmers who are having difficulty accessing fodder is a “good step”.

However, he said the scheme needs to be flexible in terms of the application process, and allow for the “speedy transfer” of fodder and native grain in stores to where it is needed most.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee (NFFSC) this morning, during which the scheme was announced by the minister, Gorman said:

“Many drystock farmers are absorbing significantly higher costs because of the prolonged wet weather and they will need support in the coming months to get back on their feet.”

At today’s meeting, the IFA raised the importance of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) meeting all farm scheme payment deadlines.

The IFA also called for an extension to the deadline for nitrates derogation applications and banding to “free up advisory resources in Teagasc and agricultural consultancy firms”.

Gorman also said the banks and credit unions should adopt maximum flexibility with their customers to ensure they can face any cashflow challenges.

Both, AIB and Bank of Ireland recently urged farmers who have concerns as the wet weather persists to get in touch to discuss cashflow supports available to farmers.