Farmers feeling the heat as drought anguish takes hold
Greenfield opens silage pits amid renewed fears of fodder crisis
Drought is becoming a serious problem for farmers across the south and east of the country as the heatwave has brought grass growth to a virtual standstill on dry farms.
Some farmers have been forced to install temporary water troughs on farms as wells and streams have gone dry in parts of Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Cork and Kilkenny.
Others have been forced to break into their valuable winter fodder reserves in an effort to preserve diminishing grass supplies.
In Tipperary, Rockwell College farm manager Jim Treacy recorded a 50pc drop in grass growth rates last week and he expected it to decrease further as the dry weather continued.
Teagasc's Greenfield farm in Kilkenny is another casualty of the drought, with daily grass growth plummeting from 55kg to 13kg dry matter per hectare during the heatwave.
Dr Padraig French, head of Teagasc's dairy research, predicted that up to 75pc of the Greenfield cows' diet this week would consist of silage and meal.
Waterford farmer Joe Flynn started feeding silage on Wednesday and doubled the concentrate feeding level for his 70-cow herd.
"I just don't have enough quality grass in front of them so I need to stretch it out with silage and meal," he said.