Farmers have been advised to “plan carefully and don’t compromise” when sowing fertiliser and growing their silage crops for feeding in winter 2022/23.

Speaking to Agriland at the launch of the Soils, Nutrients and Fertiliser Campaign for 2022, the Teagasc director Prof. Frank O’Mara acknowledged that the advisory body is concerned that farmers may make less fodder this year as a result of higher fertiliser costs.

However, he explained: “We are saying to farmers to plan their fodder supplies for winter 2022 and don’t compromise.”

“Depending on what way the weather goes this spring, many farmers are hoping they will come out of this winter with good stocks of fodder,” he noted.

While it is still early days and winter is not over yet, so far this year, weather conditions have been good and most farmers are reporting good covers of grass on their farms.

“Farmers are hoping they will exit this winter with a good supply of fodder” according to O’Mara, who added that if this is the case, it will help alleviate some of the pressure of securing additional fodder this summer.

Continuing, O’Mara acknowledged that “it all depends on how the spring goes. If we get a cold February, March and April, those fodder reserves could be well eaten up and farmers are going to have to go out and make sure they have enough supplies”.

“The majority of farmers will be applying fertiliser on silage ground for first cuts in March or early April so they will have a good idea at that stage what reserves are available,” he said.

“We have to manage what comes but in the effort to save money, don’t skimp on the amount of fodder you will have next winter and bring more trouble on yourself,” the Teagasc boss reiterated.

O’Mara said: “The price of a kilo of grass you will grow – even with sowing expensive fertiliser – is still cheaper than having to feed extra meal because you’re scarce of silage.”

Concluding, he emphasised the importance of ensuring farmers do not compromise on their fodder supply needed for next winter in a bid to save on fertiliser.