Farmers warning against red tape for fodder subsidy
Farmers have warned they must not be caught up in red tape as they avail of the new transport subsidy for fodder-stricken areas in the west and north-west.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed confirmed monies would be made available to offset the long-distance haulage of hay, straw or silage over 100km from areas with plentiful supplies to "specific localised pockets" hard-hit by bad weather.
However, Mr Creed said he was keen not to interfere with the "active local fodder market" in the western counties.
"But there are specific localised pockets where there is a real problem," he said as he launched a climate change report for the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society, adding application forms for the subsidy will be available from the department later this week.
The transport payment will range from €8 for standard hay or straw bale to €12 for silage or haylage for feeding.
A study by State agency Teagasc found 90pc of farmers in the north-west are facing serious fodder shortages this winter. Farmers generally had 35pc less feed than they needed for their herds.
Prices for fodder have also surged in some cases as farmers in the north-west reported being charged up to €50 or double the usual price for a round bale of silage.
Irish Farmers' Association president Joe Healy welcomed the subsidy but described the 100km rule to avail of the subsidy for transport as "too inflexible", with some aspects just impractical. He called for a minimum level of bureaucracy during a busy time of the year on farms.