Farmers face fodder dilemma as lack of rain stops grass growth
Farmers in Leinster are dealing with drought conditions and many facing fodder issues as the lack of rain in recent weeks means has seen grass growth slow significantly.
The lack of rain in recent weeks means grass growth has stopped on many farms, especially along the eastern seaboard, and farmers are being forced to feed grass that was earmarked for second-cut silage and concentrates to cattle.
Met Eireann says soil moisture deficits currently range from around 20 to 40mm in the northwest of the country, which had some rain last week, but there are drought or near drought conditions over Leinster.
Teagasc Head of Livestock Systems, Padraig French, said that soil moisture is predicted to go below 80ml this week, which will see grass stop growing completely.
It comes as grass growth has been seriously curtailed in recent weeks as the lack of rain sees farmers along the eastern seaboard now face soil moisture deficit levels of 70ml.
The challenge now for farmers, he said, is what to feed cattle - whether to graze second cut silage ground or buy in extra supplements.
"It does not make economic sense to close ground for silage and feed out silage to cattle. It makes sense to graze that second cut silage ground."
But, he warned that due to the dry conditions in recent weeks, that grass is quite low yielding.