‘Fodder crisis supports must be extended to see out May’

A further extension to the fodder transport support schemes – in light of the continued poor ground conditions in many parts of the country – has been called for by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell said: “Countless farmers have yet to get stock out to grass as the land has yet to dry out sufficiently.

“In Cavan and surrounding counties it could take another two to three weeks of feeding before we’ll be out of the woods.”

The Department of Agriculture had initially set a date of Monday, April 30, for both the Fodder Transport and the Fodder Import Support Measures to end. This was then extended to May 7.

However, Farrell argued: “The weather forecast for this week is no better than it was for last week. A bit of an improvement at the weekend will give us a start but it will take a bit of time for the ground to dry out.

“We can’t afford to have cattle out doing too much damage poaching the ground.

It will also take a bit more time before the grass growth kicks in. For something that has been described as a ‘short-term problem’, it’s certainly dragging on.

“Many farmers continue to have the same problems as they’ve had for months now,” the chairman said.

“There is no excuse for not extending these schemes until this crisis has well and truly passed. ICSA believes that an extension until at least the end of May is more than warranted.”