Farmers face uphill battle to secure credit from the banks
ICMSA has questioned the bona-fides of the banks regarding their willingness to finance farmers through the current fodder crisis.
All the main banks have urged farmers to engage with them now to help finance winter feed needs and other costs associated with the recent drought.
However, Shane O'Loughlin of the ICMSA's farm business committee claimed that farmer requests for overdraft increases were being summarily rejected, or excessive requirements in terms of documentation were being sought for relatively small lending increases.
The farm organisations have warned of a serious debt build up at farm level, particularly on highly-stocked dairy units, as a result of the massive feed bills incurred during the long winter and scorching summer.
But the banks insisted that they have not experienced a major increase in loan applications.
Sean Farrell of Bank of Ireland said the bank had seen more farmer requests for overdraft extensions but had not received what he described as "distress calls" as of yet. However, he said increased farm lending applications were likely from September.
"The first port of call for farmers is the co-op or merchant, but come September-October we'll see more of a requirement [for farmer lending] and we're ready for that," Mr Farrell said.
He said Bank of Ireland had a menu of options for farmers, including an extension of overdraft facilities, short-term stock loans or going interest only on loans for a period.