What advice do co-ops have for drought-stricken farmers?

Irish co-operatives and milk processors around the country have put various farmer supports in place to assist their suppliers as current drought conditions drag on.

AgriLand got in touch with a number of the co-ops to establish what advice they had for drought-stricken farmers struggling in the current dry spell.

Dairygold

In the context of the prolonged drought and fodder shortages, Dairygold is supporting its members as they examine all mitigating options in line with their individual circumstances and requirements, a spokesperson for the processor said.

The southern-based co-op also introduced a new €10/t rebate on all purchases of Compound Ruminant Feeds, effective from Monday July 23 to September 30.

Also Read: Dairygold announces feed rebate until September 30

Dairygold is also holding workshops for suppliers on drought and grazing infrastructure as well as fodder budgeting and mastitis control, dates and locations of which can be found here, while advice on dealing with current conditions is also available on the co-op’s website.

Glanbia

Glanbia is currently providing one-to-one advice through its business managers and also through its drought helpline, a company representative said.

Farm management updates relevant to the drought are also being posted on Glanbia Connect, such as this advice on drought coping strategies.

Videos from Glanbia’s team have also been uploaded on YouTube.

“We encourage each farmer to do a feed budget and devise a plan. Our staff are available to support farmers in doing those feed budgets and in devising solutions for each specific farm situation,” the spokesperson added.

Aurivo

Aurivo has two expert advisors available to assist farmers through the current drought period, a co-op spokesperson said.

Dr. Vincent Griffith, Farm Profitability Programme manager at Aurivo can be contacted at: 087-7768026; while Dr. Justin McDonagh, Aurivo nutritionist, is available at: 087-1483742.

Both can provide advice and counsel to farmers who are under pressure due to fodder challenges, the representative said.

In addition, the co-operative has reduced input costs of a range of feed that’s available at Aurivo’s Homeland stores.

Aurivo is advising farmers to extend the rotation period to 25 days and where grass is green and rain has fallen in the last 25 days, fertiliser should be applied.

Additional feed may be required to extend rotation and to that end, Aurivo has taken steps to reduce input costs.

Aurivo is urging farmers to ensure that they have sufficient water, as an average herd of dairy cows will require up to 125L every day.

Lakeland

Lakeland Dairies has advisors working with individual farmers and give them advice on sustainable farming systems.

Meanwhile, Lakeland Agri has set up a dedicated line for milk suppliers and feed customers looking for advice during this current drought period. The line is opened Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 5:30pm.

The co-op’s nutritional support team is on hand to assist farmers in putting a strategy in place to address the short-term grass deficit; they will also discuss measures that can be taken to minimise fodder shortages in the winter as a result.

The helpline is strictly for nutritional advice and support; general inquiries can be made as usual to: 1890-474720; or: 028-30262311 if calling from Northern Ireland.

LacPatrick

Growth rates are certainly back on last year and the vast majority of LacPatrick suppliers would be feeding extra concentrates and/or silage. The co-op is also aware of farmers having stock in by night, according to a spokesperson.

Silage is being done and second cut has started in some areas, but all farmers would like to have more silage saved, the co-op representative added.

As a result, LacPatrick will be running a fodder budgeting and grass management workshop next week to assist suppliers.

LacPatrick Dairies is running a fodder budgeting workshop on Thursday, August 2, at 8:00pm in the Four Seasons Hotel, Co Monaghan.

How farmers can stretch the fodder that they have as well as the economics of supplementary feeding will be among the topics covered. Speakers on the night include Ciaran McCabe from IFAC, Gerry Giggins from Nutrilink and members of the LacPatrick farm advisory team.

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