Progress made on fodder as deficit reduces – Creed

Today at a meeting of the Fodder Stakeholder group in Tullamore, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, welcomed the progress being made in filling the fodder gap for the winter ahead.

However, the latest survey results indicated that a significant number of farmers have some way yet to go before their fodder needs are met.

Minister Creed went on to urge farmers to continue to maximise fodder production, even where they had secured enough for themselves.

The second Teagasc national survey on fodder shows a “significant improvement” in making up the remaining national shortfall in fodder, according to the department.

The findings showed that the national deficit moved from what was estimated as a 28% shortage in early July to a 11% deficit today. A significant deficit remains however on many farms, the department acknowledged.

The minister added: “It is clear from the information circulated today that significant progress is being made, not least due to the efforts of the stakeholders in the group.

“As I have said previously, there is no single solution, but maximising national fodder production this autumn is a critical component of filling the remaining deficit, which may be still significant for many livestock farmers.

“I urge these farmers to continue to engage with their farm advisor on how best to manage their particular situation,” Minister Creed added.

While the first shipments of fodder under the €4.25 million Fodder Import Subsidy measure have reached Ireland; the minister stressed that, while this initiative is important support to farmers, the priority still remains to maximise autumn production which is the most cost effective means of reducing the gap.

Very timely in this respect is the latest Teagasc data showing that grass growth has returned to more normal patterns in most areas this week.

In relation to autumn grass production. Minister Creed drew attention to the flexibilities that have been granted allowing fertiliser applications until the end of September and in the case of organic fertilisers, until the end of October.

The minister also reminded farmers that the closing date for submission of applications under the Fodder Production Incentive Measure for Tillage Farmers is next Monday, September 17.

He stressed that it is important that we are in a position to maximise payments this autumn under all schemes, including through the increased rates of advance payments recently secured from the EU Commission and which will result in an additional €260 million in advance payments this autumn.

This is an important element in contributing to increased cash flow on farms, he said.

The minister commended the work of the inter-agency group which brings all the stakeholders together and emphasised that he would continue to engage with it throughout the autumn.