Explainer: What is the fodder crisis and who does it affect?
Farmers face paying huge costs to import feed supplies from abroad for their animals amid an escalating fodder crisis.
The fodder crisis has emerged as farmers begin to run out of feed - such as silage - for their cattle. This has happened as the weather last summer, when farmers make silage, was not good enough to make as much silage as they would like, particularly in western areas.
Coupled with this, the winter has been very long for farmers and they have had to keep cattle indoors for longer than usual, and are therefore more reliant on silage stocks. So many farmers are now looking at having to buy extra feed for their cattle. But because there is a fodder shortage across most of the country now, Ireland is looking at importing fodder from abroad.
Grass not growing
Most years farmers would be able to let their cattle and sheep out to grass, but Teagasc has said the increased rainfall and snow, coupled with low temperatures, meant that grass was not growing at the level necessary.
Almost 80pc more rain fell in some parts of the country over the first three months of the year compared with the corresponding period of 2017, Met Éireann data shows.
Just over 250mm of rain fell at Dublin Airport between January and April 2, up 77.8pc, with increases of more than 50pc recorded at stations in Johnstown, Co Wexford; Ballyhaise, Co Cavan; and Dunsany, in Meath.
Figures from weather stations on Teagasc land showed that in some areas, four times as much rain fell in January compared with the same month of 2017.