Winter fodder crisis has already hit north-west
90pc of farmers in region face serious shortages while rest of country braces for further deficits
Over 90pc of farmers in the north-west are facing serious fodder shortages this winter, with stock owners generally having 35pc less feed than they will need for their herds.
These are the stark findings of a Teagasc fodder survey which involved more than 90 farmers from Leitrim and Sligo.
It comes as the farm organisations again demanded action from the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed this week to support farmers hit by the fodder crisis.
While the survey found that a small number of farmers had sufficient feed to see them through the winter, there were also exceptional cases where farmers had already used all their fodder stocks, Tom Coll of Teagasc explained.
However, he said most farmers were faced with feed shortages of around one-third of their normal winter requirements.
The Teagasc survey confirms the extent of the difficulties facing farmers in the west and north-west.
At an IFA meeting in Claremorris, Co Mayo on Friday evening, association president Joe Healy called on Minister Creed to immediately introduce a fodder transport subsidy and meal vouchers for farmers who have been hardest hit by the crisis.
"There is no doubt that there is an urgent need for a support scheme," Mr Healy said.