Top tips for farmers dealing with the effects of adverse weather

With adverse weather conditions affecting farmers across the country and creating increased costs, Teagasc is advising farmers to act now to alleviate some of the pressure over the winter period.

For those who have been suffering from the persistent rain and poor ground conditions, the thought of closing fields in rotation is merely wishful thinking, according to Teagasc.

Many farmers have been forced to house cattle earlier than expected and have failed to get their second cut of silage, leaving them short on feed for the winter period.

This will then place additional pressure on cash flow as farmers try to buy in more silage or feed to get through the housing period, Teagasc says.

However, Teagasc advises that it is important that if you think that you will be short of silage this winter, that you act now.

1. Assess Quality and Quantity of Fodder

Farmers need to assess the quantity and quality of fodder available. Delayed cutting dates on farms will leave quality below what you would normally like.

fodder

Early indications from Cappoquin-based FBA Laboratories suggested that first silage quality was poor, with DMD and protein values below normal values for this time of year.

2. Calculate Winter Feed Requirements

It is important for farmers to calculate their winter feed requirements. What type and the number of stock will affect the amount of silage a farmer needs to get their livestock through the winter.

How long the stock will be housed for will also affect the feed requirement levels for winter housing.

There are simple methods available which will allow farmers to figure out whether they will have a surplus or deficit of fodder available.

silage pit

3. Decide on your options

Farmers who have been badly affected by the adverse weather they need to decide on the options they have available. If you have more than 50% of your silage requirements on hand then there are options.

Buying extra silage/hay or straw may not necessarily be the best option unless they are good value, especially with cereals and rations being competitively priced this year.

silo, feed, meal,

4. Dealing with Cash Flow Pressures

If cash flow is going to be under pressure, Teagasc advises farmers to act promptly in dealing with banks or merchants so as to identify a plan to work towards in the future.

It has prepared a simple ABCD guide to take control of the cash flow situation on drystock farms.

Recommendations:
  • Act early – even the best farmer’s plans and schedules are in need of adjustment. Delays will cause the situation to deteriorate and cause extra stress
  • Be realistic – be realistic and up front in developing your cash flow plan
  • Consult – draw up a plan with your Teagasc Adviser, Agricultural Consultant or accountant. They have the expertise to help you develop a cash flow plan for your business
  • Decide – decide on a course of action using your cash flow to form the basis of negotiations with your suppliers and banks 

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