Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Weather woes for farmers as fodder prices surge

Teagasc grassland management specialist Michael O'Donovan addresses farmers at a Moorepark open day. Photo: O'Gorman Photography
Teagasc grassland management specialist Michael O'Donovan addresses farmers at a Moorepark open day. Photo: O'Gorman Photography
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Fodder prices are surging in the north and west as the weather continues to hinder farmers.

And it seems that an east-west divide is emerging on the price of silage and hay bale.

Henry O'Donnell of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) said the wet weather conditions had impacted on grass quality and would drive up fodder prices in the west and north.

"It was a wet August, even aside from the flooding, so I can imagine it would be high. Rain has done a lot of damage to grass. We're having to house our suckler cows and so are plenty of others. It's making the winter longer for farmers," he said.

Leitrim-based Teagasc advisor Tom Coll told the Farming Independent that farmers have already begun eating into their reserves for stock, with silage bales at around €25 for a round bale. In Milford, Co Donegal prices of €30 per 4x4 silage bale were being quoted, while in Galway prices stood at €25-27 and in Kerry prices run from €22-25.

Farmers though in the east of the country, which has enjoyed drier weather, are seeing 4x4 round silage bales for €20/bale.

Pat Kennedy, from Pallasgreen, Co Limerick said there was good demand for his higher-priced larger hay bale which ranged from €30-32/4x6 round bale and included delivery to neighbouring counties.

"They're a 4x4 bale but the Fusion baler seems to make them a lot bigger at about 4x6," he told the Farming Independent.

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In Mayo, stocks of 4x4 hay bales were fetching €35/bale.

Michael O'Donovan from Teagasc Moorepark said good growth rates and less rainfall are linked to the lack of demand in the south and east.

"There's been a growth rate of 73kg at the moment and that's great for the autumn," he said. "Dairy farmers in the south and east are in a good scenario and can have their cows out grazing. There' s not as much demand down here for hay and silage bales. We've good growth and have had much less rainfall than the west."


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