Glanbia issues advice and helpline for farmers as drought continues

Glanbia has offered advice to its suppliers in light of the ongoing drought conditions and has established a helpline for farmers in difficulty as the current dry spell continues.

Speaking on current conditions, Glanbia chairman Martin Keane said: “We are acutely conscious of the stress that this drought is causing for our farmers and their animals.

“Any farmer experiencing difficulty should contact their local Glanbia representative.

“The board has met to review our response and is looking at a range of options to help our farmers through this latest challenge,” the chairman said.

Grass cover, grass growth and conserved fodder are below target on almost all farms across the Glanbia catchment area.

Grass growth has declined to approximately 30kg of DM/ha/day during the past week in many areas. On average, growth is running at less than 40% of demand.

In addition, grass growth prospects are poor until there is a significant correction of current soil moisture deficits, according to the south-east dairy giant.

Farmers facing difficulties are encouraged to contact their local Glanbia representative, who can advise of appropriate solutions on an individual farm basis.

A Glanbia Drought Helpline is available to farmers in difficulty on: 1890-100-017; lines are open from 8:30am to 6:00pm.

Glanbia Ireland animal nutritionist Martin Ryan said that dairy farmers are currently maintaining milk supply by resorting to combinations of:

  • Increased in-parlour feeding;
  • Grazing second-cut silage ground;
  • Feeding straights like soya hulls in addition to parlour concentrates;
  • Using some silage as a buffer feed.

In light of this, Ryan offered a range of advice to best get through the current challenging conditions.

Fill any feed dry matter intake gap firstly with up to 6kg of an appropriate concentrate, the nutritionist said.

Consider the feeding of a further 4-5kg of soya hulls. Buffer feed some silage to carry the hulls if necessary and or to provide long fibre.

Hulls are good value relative to other products – nutritionally ideal, widely available, proven and can be fed at rates of up to 6-7kg/hd/day.

In current conditions, dairy cows will need access to up to 100L per cow per day. Water shortage will reduce dry matter intake and milk yield.

Farms with severe shortage of grass and no more than 5kg of grass DM to allocate per cow/day should fill the first 10kg of DM deficit with concentrate and straights.

Thereafter, it is critically important to include long fibre in the diet. This could be silage bales / haylage or alfalfa, the Glanbia nutritionist added.