Feed shortages leave farms in parts of North close to crisis point
Farmers in Fermanagh and Tyrone struggling with poor second-cut silage
A sharp increase in the volume of feed heading North has been reported over the last fortnight as farmers in Fermanagh, Tyrone and parts of Derry and Armagh struggle with housed stock and poor second-cut silage.
Farm advisors in the western counties of Northern Ireland maintained that conditions on many farms were becoming very difficult.
"Most of the dairy and suckler herds west of the Bann have been housed, and second-cut silage has not been made on many farms," a College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) advisor who did not wish to be named told the Farming Independent.
"It hasn't been officially classified as a crisis, yet, but the situation is really serious in much of the west (of Northern Ireland)," he added.
While east Ulster has not been as badly hit, the CAFRE advisor said that many parts of north Antrim had also been affected.
"A lot of men are sitting there with second-cut silage they can't get at, or third-cut silage in the case of the dairy farmers," he explained.
"Guys got cutting last week on one or two of the good days, but they had to pull out of fields because the conditions were just too bad."
As with farmers in the Republic, Northern livestock owners are now faced with the dilemma of what to do with slurry tanks that are quickly filling.