Coveney announces 100pc rise in fodder transport scheme to €2m

Caitriona Murphy

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has announced a doubling of the imported fodder transport scheme to €2million and a two-week extension to the closing date.

Eligible fodder delivered into the country will be covered up to May 24, he said on Friday.

Minister Coveney said the decision was taken after consultation with those working on the ground and he would continue to monitor the situation.

Deluges of rain across the south and west last week put paid to the hopes of thousands of farmers of getting animals out to grass.

Farmers in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Connacht have been forced to rehouse animals after more than two inches of rain fell in the past week.

Waterlogged fields are adding to the woes of farmers on heavy soils and demand for imported fodder has soared again.

Teagasc adviser Eugene Hayes said farmers on wet soils would require fodder relief for some time to come.

"Only a small fraction of silage ground is closed on many farms and there are major soil compaction problems in wet land areas," he said.

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In Listowel, Teagasc adviser Ned Dalton said some farms would take at least a couple of weeks to dry out.

Orders for imported hay flooded into the IFA office on Friday as farmers in Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Galway suffered another setback in grass growth.

"People will need fodder for at least another two weeks," said Adrian Leddy from the IFA in Roscommon.

In the midlands, Willie Dolan of the IFA said supplies of Irish fodder had been exhausted.

It is a similar situation in Limerick, where Teagasc's Pádraig Fitzgerald said limited supplies of imported hay and straw sourced by Kerry Group, Dairygold and the IFA were "just about enough" to meet demand this week.

Lorry-loads of hay and straw are continuing to roll off ferries from Britain and France.

The Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Hotline is open to farmers who need information about sourcing fodder on 1850 21 19 90 (Low-call).

Irish Independent

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