Immediate action on fodder security for livestock farmers is needed to address the cost of fertiliser, ensuring that adequate feed is secured for next winter, Macra na Feirme has said.

Questions need to be asked regarding the response to the concerns of The National Fodder and Food Security Committee, Macra na Feirme national president, John Keane said. He added:

“Action is needed now, farmers have already made decisions on fertiliser applications for silage crops for the first cut for this year but there is a limited window to provide real support for livestock farmers.”

At the first meeting of the committee on March 11, 2022, there was unanimous support for immediate intervention by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure fodder and price security for livestock farmers, according to Macra na Feirme.

The organisation has concerns about the impact that smaller amounts of fodder in the country will have on livestock sales and prices in the latter half of 2022, which, it said, will have a double effect on farmers’ incomes.

The increased cost of inputs compounded by a lower return in sales prices will have a detrimental effect on livestock family-farm incomes, Macra na Feirme added.

Support payment needed

A support payment – specifically targeted at smaller farms – is needed to ensure there is adequate fodder in the country next winter, according to the organisation which considers the support scheme for Polish farmers a “good example”.

The European Commission recently approved a €836 million support scheme for Polish farmers in response to rising fertiliser costs due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Further, a finisher payment is required for beef farmers so that mart prices are strong by ensuring that finishers around the ring are supported, Macra na Feirme said.

“There is also €40m of clawed back farmers’ money under [the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure] BEAM that needs to be allocated immediately to support livestock farmers through these measures,” Keane added.