Kerry set to begin importing fodder ‘really, really soon’

Kerry is set to begin importing fodder from the UK “really, really soon“, according to Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon.

Speaking to AgriLand after he presented the group’s interim management report for the first half of 2018, Scanlon stated that Kerry is actively sourcing fodder in the UK through a network of contacts which it has built up during the previous two fodder shortages experienced in Ireland.

He stressed that Kerry is monitoring the current fodder situation in Ireland very closely and that it will “not be found wanting” if its suppliers require support.

Commenting on the matter, he said: “We are already out there in the UK market looking at what we can get and the quality of what we can get.

“We are trying to get ahead of this as much as we can. We are definitely staying very close to our farmers; our Kerry Agribusiness team is out there talking to farmers every day.

We are proactively going out there sourcing fodder at this stage – looking at the quality, looking at the pricing and looking at the availability.

“We will be starting to bring in fodder really, really soon; I would definitely say that.”

Scanlon indicated that no contracts have been signed yet, but that some agreements are nearing completion.

How much fodder will need to be imported?

The Kerry Group CEO outlined that the quantity of fodder imported will depend greatly on what the weather brings over the next few months.

He noted that some of Kerry’s catchment area hasn’t been as badly affected by the drought conditions as other parts of the country.

Grass growth levels in the coming weeks, quantities of second or third cuts of silage and the length of time farmers are able to leave cows out grazing this year will all be determining factors regarding the quantity of fodder that may need to be imported, he added.

Scanlon also pointed out that Kerry announced a series of measures last week to address the current fodder difficulties being experienced by farmers, as well as more long-term measures to help maximise fodder stocks and to ensure autumn grass growth is optimised.

Also Read: Kerry announces fodder support measures for suppliers

Despite the challenges faced by suppliers over the course of the year, Scanlon highlighted that current milk supply levels have returned to almost the same levels as those recorded this time last year.

For the year-to-date, milk supply levels are back approximately 3% compared to the corresponding period in 2017, he concluded.