Darragh McCullough: The drought is costing me €7,000 extra a week in feed bills
As the country continues to bask in sunshine, farmers with drought conditions face mounting feed bills as grass growth remains severely curtailed.
Darragh McCullough, who farms in partnership with Joe Leonard in Meath, says the drought means the farm feed bills has increased by €7,000 a week.
"We've had less than 10pc of normal rainfall for the last two months so now we are feeding 13t of silage and 2.5t of meal daily, which adds up to a unforeseen feedbill of about €7K/week."
The dairy herd of 585 cows, he says, are being fed 20 bales of silage a day and the labour and diesel costs to do this, he says amounts to another couple of hundred a week and has to be accounted for.
But, despite the intervention with extra feed, milk yields are also well down on the farm.
"Our milk yields are down too. Last year we were milking 520 cows land delivering the same amount of milk as we are today with 65 extra cows.
The farm's 'get out of jail card', he said, is 200 acres of second cut silage it has lined up. "We had a tidal wave of grass growth at end of April/early May and got 500 bales made then.
"That's all that's being used at the moment but at 20 bales a day, we have enough for 25 days before we have to touch the silage pit, which is locked up for the winter."