Grass growth collapse hits farmers for €360m
Drystock losses running at an average of €3,200 per farm and harvest worries mount
The collapse in grass growth has cost dairy and drystock farmers close to €360m over the last six months, while the continuing heatwave is causing havoc for vegetable and cereal growers.
Figures from the Teagasc PastureBase service put the fall-off in grass growth for the first six months of the year at almost 1.5 tonnes per hectare.
This has cost dairy farmers €250/ha or around €100/cow, according to Teagasc calculations.
With more than 1.4 million cows in the national dairy herd, losses as a whole exceed €140m.
Losses on drystock farms are estimated at €108/ha, or €3,200 for the average 30ha farm.
With around 70,000 beef and sheep farms nationally, this converts to an overall loss of around €220m.
And with no respite from the scorching weather forecast over the coming week, tillage farmers are also facing serious difficulties. Potato growers are struggling to keep crops irrigated and are warning of massive yield losses on fields that are not getting water.
The cereals harvest is also badly affected, with some tillage advisors predicting that yields will fall by 0.75-1t/ac on average or by 500,000t to 700,000t in total.