Farmers race to bank fodder as grass growth rates rocket
Producers cut thousands of acres as weather takes welcome turn
Published 10/07/2013 | 05:00
Thousands of acres of grass have been knocked for hay and silage this week as farmers try to claw back valuable ground in the fight to secure next winter's feed supply.
Glorious sunshine and daily grass growth rates exceeding 100kg dry matter per hectare have put a pep in the collective step of the nation's farmers as they bank precious fodder reserves.
In a complete change of fortunes for farmers, grass supply is now exceeding demand by as much as 40pc, according to figures from the Teagasc Pasture Base system.
"If you put it on prescription you couldn't ask for better. We had huge growth last week and the week ahead will see a huge amount of fodder saved," remarked Roy O'Brien of Galway IFA.
"The weather has really given everyone such a boost. There's been a real pick up in confidence among farmers and it's all still to play for at this stage," he added.
However, agricultural advisers have warned farmers not to get complacent as fodder shortfalls of 20-40pc are still predicted on some farms.
Cork-based dairy adviser Mike Brady said many of his clients had a predicted fodder shortfall of 20-30pc for the winter ahead.
"Farmers have projected deficits because they are carrying extra dairy stock and the first cut of silage was light," he said.