Farmers forced to sell cattle as fodder shortage bites
Farmers in the North West are having to sell cattle, as a second year of bad weather over the summer months means poor fodder quality and shortages.
Leitrim IFA Chairman James Gallagher said rain levels this summer have made it a disaster for many farmers between Donegal, Letrim and Sligo.
He said that this is the second year of bad weather over the summer, leaving many farmers with no option but to sell stock. "If the rain fell in November when cattle are indoors anyway and silage had been cut, it would be ok.
"But, a poor summer last year meant many farmers had to buy meal early this year and due to poor quality fodder and many faced credit issues when they went to merchants to buy fertiliser.
"Now even though the quality of silage is better this year, we are seeing a lot of second cut silage still in the fields. Farmers have had to get cattle off the land as it is saturated and many do not have the fodders, so have to off load the cattle."
He also said that transport costs to the region means that buying straw is too expensive. "There is a lot of straw still out in fields that won't be saved at this point. And with round bales costing €20-30, add transport costs and it's too much for many farmers."
Louth-based nurtitionist Gerry Giggins says many livestock farmers will struggle to fulfil their silage requirements.
"There will also be challenges surrounding the balancing of the animal's protein and energy requirements due to poor quality and quantity of second cuts.