Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 24 September 2018

'Additional feed cost me €2,500 a week and stress is at an all-time high'

Peter Hurley shows his land which has sufferred from drought in August. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Peter Hurley shows his land which has sufferred from drought in August. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

"We're after doubling our feed rates from this time last year, costing me an additional €2,500 a week in additional feed," Ballinhassing, Cork, dairy farmer, Peter Hurley has asid.

Talking about the effect of the drought on his farm in Springmount in Ballinhassig, he said that from June 28 the farm was taking from its scarce first cut silage which has taken away from this winter’s fodder supply.

"The workload has trebled because of the drought and stress is at an all-time high," he said.

"It's costing me between €350 to €450 a cow when you add up the cost of the feed, lower milk production, lower solids and everything else that goes with it," said Peter, who farms a 160-cow farm.

“The effects of the drought is costing my herd about €64,000 in total,” he said.

“We’re after sourcing three times the amount of straw we normally get for the coming year and we also pre-bought maize in April which will definitely help now this coming winter,” said Peter, who attended the fodder management workshop in Carrigaline set-up by Dairygold.

“To feed the maize we’re going to have to by a diet-feeder and this is another additional cost. We’re now looking at €500 a cow including this,” said Peter.

“Some people are saying farms are overstocked, this isn’t the problem,” Peter said. “I do weekly grass walks and we were only growing 10pc of what we grow on a normal year,” he said.

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“Last month we were recording 11kgs a day growth which went down to nothing compared to the same time last year we had 77kgs of growth a day,” he said.

“The financial cost of this drought was colossal,” said Peter. “Going forward I’ll be looking for a more of a contract-based agreement with our co-operative to have some security in another year like this,” he said.as

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