As fodder supplies tighten around the country due to persisting wet weather, the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has received multiple calls from farmers about cost concerns in the future.

Vice-president of the ICMSA, Eamon Carroll from Templemore, Co. Tipperary said for the first time ever on his farm this year, he has ran out of fodder.

Carroll described the situation as “unusual” and said the situation is not down to an increase in stock numbers, but “predominantly” caused by weather events.

He told Agriland that normally in Co. Tipperary, cattle would be out until about November 20 or even later, but in 2023, Carroll had taken all his cattle in by the end of October.

With a slight break in downpours for the county last weekend, Carroll let his cattle out, but said that if rain continues then he will have to bring them back in.

He added that reflecting on last year, while June saw dry weather, it had been “raining nearly constantly” since then.

“The long-term ramifications are going to be felt through the year,” Carroll said.

He said he heard of farmers buying in fodder from the beginning of the year, with the south-east one of the most impacted areas.

Fodder funding

Carroll said that government financial support is needed for the ongoing situation.

However, he added that one thing he does not want to see from government is funding supporting one sector over another.

Carroll said that the tillage sector has also been impacted, with “anything in between 10% to 90% of winter crops not sown”.

Speaking to ICMSA farm business chair, Pat O’Brien, he said he is hearing farmers with land down the south of the country are “really feeling the pinch”.

He said there needs to be funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), but that “it should have been organised sooner”.

Along with fodder concerns, Carroll said that there is also “pressure” on farmers due to EU regulation.

“Water quality is going in the wrong direction. It’s not stabilising enough in the way that it should be and we understand that, but there comes a point in time when you can over-regulate any business,” Carroll said.

He said this over-regulation will have “knock-on effects” for younger generations.