‘It is important that we learn some of the lessons from this spring’

Moving forward, it is important that we learn some of the lessons from this spring, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister was replying to a recent parliamentary question from independent TD Noel Grealish regarding the fodder crisis.

Deputy Grealish asked the minister whether or not he would reconsider his decision and put a meal voucher scheme in place for farmers struggling to source fodder.

Farmers across the country have experienced significant fodder shortages in recent months and these problems have been escalated due to the difficult weather conditions endured since last September.

Minister Creed outlined that it will be imperative to replenish adequate supplies of fodder for next winter in the coming months.

It is important that we learn some of the lessons from this spring and build resilience into our systems going forward.

“I have asked Teagasc to chair a stakeholder group to coordinate advisory messages to farmers this summer around replenishing stocks that have been used up,” he said.

In response to pressures on fodder supplies “caused by a long wet winter and spring”, the minister outlined that he introduced a Fodder Transport Support measure in January of this year as well as a Fodder Import Support measure in April.

Continuing, he said: “These two interventions – working together effectively – addressed issues around fodder availability in the country.

Grass growth, as confirmed by Teagasc assessments, has continued to improve significantly and livestock are out to graze.

“However, ground conditions were slow to improve in some areas and in a concluding response to remaining fodder difficulties I decided to extend both measures by one week until May 7,” he concluded.