Approximately 20 farmers in low lying areas between Athlone and Shannonbridge have incurred catastrophic fodder losses, in the wake of the recent floods, according to Teagasc advisor Joe Curtin.

“The farmers in question have lost most, if not all, of their winter forage,” he said.

“I have been in farm yards over the past couple of days with flood water up to one and a half feet above ground level. As a result, cattle have had to be taken out of sheds and put on land at a higher level.

“But that’s only scratching the surface, in terms of the challenges now facing these farmers. Most have had their silage stocks badly affected by the floods as well.

“Baled silage is the winter forage that is most widely made in this part of the world. I was on one farm where 300 bales have been destroyed. But even in cases where bales could be salvaged, the floods are preventing farmers from physically moving them to drier locations.”

The Ballinasloe-based advisor is calling for Government support to be made available to those farmers most badly affected by the floods.

This is 2009 all over again, where these farmers are concerned.

“Thankfully the numbers of farmers affected by the current floods are not as bad as was the case back in 2009.

“But there is genuine need on the ground in parts of east Roscommon and Galway at the present time. And government must act accordingly.”

Curtin said that the weather-related problems now facing farmers west of the Shannon will remain an issue for these producers for the next number of months.

“We are now in December. Normal weather patterns for the next few months will ensure that water levels in the Shannon will remain high. This is why it is some important for government to recognise the plight of flood affected farmers now.”