Carefully planning and budgeting for both fodder and finance will be vital for farmers over the coming winter and spring, prompting Teagasc to put a concerted focus next week on budgeting.

Fintan Phelan, head of the Teagasc Farm Management and Rural Development Department, commented on the important topic ahead of the Teagasc organised fodder and finance budgeting week which commences next Monday, October 8.

He said: “The weather in 2018 has put pressure on fodder stocks which has impacted on all livestock enterprises.

“We will be working with other organisations to assist farmers to develop a fodder and financial plan for their own farm.”

Teagasc will hold 30 fodder and finance events in the coming days, supported by other organisations. These will include seminars, farm walks, and clinics to allow one-to-one discussion. Advisors will also be in marts to talk directly one-to-one to farmers.

Teagasc – through the Inter Agency Fodder Committee – will be working closely with financial institutions, farming organisations, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, co-ops and the feed trade, along with media representatives over the coming weeks to deliver key messages to farmers.

Farmers can visit their local Teagasc office, or call the office for a consultation, according to the agency.

Dermot McCarthy, head of the Teagasc Advisory Programme, expanded on this.

Advisors will be available to visit farms and give practical advice about feeding, and fodder/financial budgeting.

“They will assist both Teagasc clients and non-clients to: complete a comprehensive fodder budget; complete a financial budget and assess the best options; evaluate ways to budget feed and give guidance on managing the feeding of fodder crops.”

Siobhan Kavanagh – Teagasc regional advisory manager – oversaw the recent national fodder surveys in July and September.

She said: “ A Teagasc fodder survey in September showed that the south-east and south are worst affected with over 50% of farmers having a deficit of 20% to 25%. Coupled with this there are pockets elsewhere in the country where significant deficits exist.

A key message from the survey is that farmers with a deficit need to take action from the beginning of the winter. This requires budgeting silage and feeding meals to fill the gap.

“Don’t wait until next January or February to react,” she warned.

Phelan added to this, emphasising: “It is essential that all farmers engage in measuring the extent of physical and financial pressure the weather events earlier this year have had on their farm business.

“There will be seminars which will have presentations focused on practical solutions and an opportunity to meet with advisors, financial institutions and farmer representatives one-to-one.

“Teagasc advisors will be on the ground helping farmers to plan their way through the next six months.”