The first emergency delivery of animal feed arrived in Rosslare Harbour this morning as the nationwide fodder crisis intensifies.
Dairygold Co-op will distribute the Britain-sourced feed to ten locations around Munster. The co-op ordered around 2,500 tonnes of fodder due to the weather-related shortages.
A substantial amount of further imports is due to arrive over the weekend with the country’s largest dairy processor Glanbia and Co. Cavan-based Lakeland Dairies scheduled to secure animal feed for their members.
The last time fodder importation was necessary was in 2013, when a total of 140,000 tonnes were needed to meet supply shortages.
Around 3,500 bales are expected to arrive at Rosslare over the next two to three days, head of sales at Dairygold Agri Business, Seamus O’Mahoney, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
"We have been seeing over the last few months that farmers have been trying to stretch existing fodder and we have had a very long winter, two storms, a late spring,” O’Mahoney said. “Farmers didn’t have a chance to put out fertiliser and all of those factors didn’t click.”
He added that he expects it to be another two weeks before grass supply balances out demand.
Glanbia said it will make a support payment of €50 per tonne on all ruminant feed bought by its members during April. The company is set to import 1,000 tonnes of alfalfa from Spain, which will arrive in Dublin this weekend for distribution to Glanbia branches early next week.
Lakeland Dairies said yesterday that it had also opened up several fodder supply channels from the UK and that it will purchase any surpluses from farmers here for redistribution.
The Irish Co-operative Society has cautioned that the weather over the next seven to ten days will be critical. If it does improve, grass growth will resume and the issues will be largely resolved, however, it could become very serious if the weather doesn’t improve, it said.
The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has asked his officials to create a scheme to support the importation of animal feed by the co-ops and other groups as a result of the shortages, saying that a collaborative effort by all stakeholders would be required.
The Irish Farmers Association has also called on co-ops to invest in the sustainability of their supplying dairy farms when setting the March milk prices.
AIB has also come out to encourage farmers to make contact of their local branch if cash flow support is needed.
Anne Finnegan, head of AIB’s agri sector team said: “We are well aware of the challenges that farmers are currently experiencing on-farm as a consequence of the late spring and the heightened rainfall since last summer - particularly along the Western seaboard.
“We know that cash flow support will in the main be short-to-medium term in nature and a return to normal weather and grass growing conditions should alleviate some of the operational and financial pressures on-farm.”
“We are encouraging farmers who may need support to quantify the level of working capital they require and make early contact with the bank to consider an appropriate solution to their circumstances. We will work with customers on a case by case basis as experience has taught us that no one solution will suit all farms.”
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan