Livestock farmers urged to get 'proactive' on fodder
Deals need to be struck on catch crops and quick rotation silage, says Teagasc
Livestock farmers should maximise the potential of the recently announced fodder aid package by agreeing contracts with neighbouring tillage farmers for catch crops or quick rotation silage.
The €2.75m fodder aid scheme announced by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed last week aims to double the area of catch crops sown each year to more than 45,000ha.
However, Teagasc tillage specialist Michael Hennessy said livestock farmers would have to be proactive in approaching tillage farmers to grow the crops for them.
"Livestock farmers will have to come out and ask for this. They will have to be proactive if this is to work," Mr Hennessy said.
He cited the experience of the whole-crop cereal market this year where there were four cereal growers willing to sell crops for every livestock farmer who wanted to buy. The fodder scheme gives a payment of €155/ha for tillage growers who grow a temporary crop of short rotation grasses for fodder production over the winter months, and €100/ha for those growing catch crops such as fodder rape or turnips.
Mr Hennessy said the measure was "very positive" for tillage growers and would particularly suit those in spring cereals.
However, he added that the crops would have to be planted quickly to ensure a good yield and this left a narrow window for farmers to agree deals.
Announcing the package, Minister Creed said that farmers growing between 3ha and 50ha of temporary forage crops, additional to that already grown under GLAS, will be eligible. A GLAS participant may apply for the measure on tillage land not in receipt of GLAS Catch Crop aid.