Fodder group updated on conditions as drought extends

As drought conditions continue, a fodder group set up by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed is keeping close tabs on forage availability for farmers, according to a statement from the Department of Agriculture.

A Teagasc-led fodder group comprising of industry, farm bodies, banks and agricultural media was established by Minister Creed to address issues around fodder conservation following the prolonged bad weather of the winter and spring gone by.

In light of the current dry spell the minister specifically tasked the group with providing guidance to farmers on grazing and feeding options to maintain fodder production, according to the department.

Guidance is also to be prioritised on the need to provide adequate shade and water to minimise stress on livestock.

Information is gathered on an ongoing basis and advice is regularly updated and communicated to farmers by the bodies represented on the fodder group, according to the department.

Fodder census

Meanwhile, as of last Friday (June 29), a total of 753 survey responses had already been submitted to the national fodder census being conducted by Teagasc, it has confirmed.

Details of the Teagasc / Inter Agency Fodder Census for July 1 were announced at the Teagasc BEEF 2018 open day in Grange, Co. Meath, on Tuesday last, June 26.

The fodder census was officially launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. A second census is planned for September 1.

The survey incorporates: the number of stock one intends to keep this winter and their requirements; silage already in the pit and what is expected to follow; bales; whether a surplus or deficit is expected; and additional farm enterprise questions.

Joe Patton, a dairy specialist at Teagasc, said that it is imperative that all farmers do a fodder budget in the next few weeks. Resilience to adverse weather must now be built into feed plans over time.