‘We need a meal voucher system by early November’

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association’s (INHFA’s) Brendan Joyce spoke to AgriLand about fodder shortages at day one of the National Ploughing Championships.

“I think at the moment we certainly have a problem in so far as a shortage. Where is it going to come from? Because obviously, if there’s a shortage in the south and the east, it will effect the west.

“Normally the surplus was sold off from the south and the east and it came west. There is a problem, so what do we do about that?”

Putting forward a solution, Joyce said: “I think we need a meal voucher system. We need it early in November, so that farmers can maybe feed a bit earlier.”

Joyce suggested the introduction of such a measure may elevate some of the problem; but he said there are huge lessons to be learned from earlier this year.

“There was a system there from the minister and the department which was supposed to send bales to the west. It was done through the co-operatives.

“A lot of the co-operatives are not within 50 miles of you – maybe more. It could be a 100-mile round trip. What good is a system like that?

“We need to work on numerous systems, but I think the meal voucher system early could be an answer for our members because animals could be left out later and they could graze the hills with concentrate feeding.”