Analysis: All the warning signs of a fodder crisis were in the weather data
One thing is certain - this will not be the last fodder crisis. The question which now arises is how similar problems can be avoided in the future.
The issue has been simmering since at least last November when it was raised in the Dáil in relation to farmers in the north-west and west. But it's a national problem now.
Met Éireann weather records provide a clue as to what has happened. Last summer, autumn and winter were wetter than normal, and the winter just past was colder than average too. Almost 80pc more rain has fallen in some parts of the country over the first three months of the year on top of this sodden landscape, compared with the corresponding period of 2017.
And it's been cold. Soil temperatures must be at 6C, according to Teagasc, for grass to grow. That's not happening.
The 2013 crisis resulted in an economic cost estimated at €450m. And in a world where the climate is changing, we can expect further problems in the years ahead.
Research by Dr Conor Murphy from Maynooth University shows that the years between 2006 and 2015 made up the wettest decade in more than 300 years of record-keeping. Average rainfall each year was 1,990mm, almost double the average across the previous three centuries of 1,080mm.
"The lesson from this year is wet conditions increase the amount of fodder required," he says. "Climate models suggest winters will be wetter and there are changing seasonal rainfall levels.
"It's important the risks posed by changes in climate we're seeing are built into our long-term strategies for climate adaptation."