Dairygold identifies 25% shortfall in winter fodder supplies
Dairygold has launched a series of measures to address the current and longer-term issues relating to the summer drought which has seen grass growth plummet to 30% of normal levels for this time of year.
From its ongoing fodder surveys, Dairygold has identified a potential current shortfall of approximately 25% of winter fodder supplies.
In recognition of this and the current prolonged period of drought, the society has launched a number of key mitigation measures to support farmers at this time.
These measures are designed to mitigate the current grass shortages and also to facilitate the provision of sufficient fodder for the coming winter.
- Managing the ongoing drought/fodder situation;
- Maximising grass and forage crop growth to build winter feed stocks;
- Calculating and implementing feed strategies to minimise future feed deficit gaps.
Specific measures to address the above include:
Fodder stretching feed options
To help farmers maximise the opportunities to conserve fodder, Dairygold’s nutritionists have devised a number of ‘Grass Extender’ feed options to enable farmers to conserve more winter feed on farms in the late summer and autumn.
In addition, Dairygold’s technical team have developed a specific feed planning programme which will be used to help farmers select the most appropriate feeding and fodder conservation strategy based on their own farm requirements.
In recognition of the financial hardship farmers face, Dairygold is offering interest-free credit to all members on purchases of feed and fertiliser in July and August.
Dairygold is encouraging its members to continue to feed strategically to maintain grass rotation length and to have adequate fertiliser supplies on-farm to allow for timely spreading.
Linking tillage and livestock farmers
Whole crops: Dairygold is facilitating and encouraging member grain growers to link with livestock farmers for farm-to-farm whole crop trading, where suitable. This is in line with Dairygold’s pilot programme with Teagasc to develop inter-farm trading of forages.
Catch crops: Highlighting the potential opportunity for catch crops, Dairygold is providing specialist agronomy advice and promotions to cereal farmers to encourage the sowing of ‘catch crops’ after the grain harvest.
These have the potential to provide a valuable additional source of fodder for livestock farmers over the coming winter. They also provide additional income and a positive rotational benefit for cereal growers.
Ongoing specialist advisory support
Dairygold’s advisory and technical teams have been working intensively supporting members by providing support and specialist advice, compiling surveys and hosting relevant information events.
Dairygold will also continue to collaborate with its partner Teagasc through its joint programme.
Dairygold’s agri mill and field teams have been working around the clock to deal with the unprecedented demand for feed deliveries, the processor added.