Teagasc says some farmers may only have half the fodder needed for winter

Teagasc estimate national fodder deficit could now be 28%

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers in some parts of the country are facing a Fodder deficits of up to 50pc due to a severe drought which has griped the country for several weeks.

The Interagency Fodder Committee conducted a Fodder Census at the end of June / early July.

The data for this survey was collected late June early July.

Outlining the results Dr Siobhan Kavanagh, Teagasc regional advisory manager for Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford said over 1,000 farmers from across a range of enterprises were surveyed across the country.

Image: Teagasc
Image: Teagasc

"Results of this survey in late June / early July showed a deficit of 18pc nationally. The variation across regions varied from a 12pc deficit in Roscommon, Longford, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and up to a 30% deficit in parts of West Cork".

She said the results have to be treated with some caution as conditions have deteriorated since the census date.

"If we assume that half of the second cut has been consumed, Teagasc estimate that the national fodder deficit is now 28pc. Average winter feed demand from the survey was 740 tonnes per farm.

"Therefore, a deficit of 28pc equates to a deficit of 207 tonnes of silage per farm. The deficit ranges from 5 to 50pc on individual farms," Dr Kavanagh warned.

Soil moisture deficits are also very high, she said ranging from around 50 to 60 mm in Ulster and Connacht, with values elsewhere running between 80 and 95 mm.

"Grass growth has deteriorated to 25 kg DM / ha / day nationally, with Eastern, South East and Southern counties worst affected.

"In many areas of the South East, grass growth is 10 kg DM per ha or less.

"This has resulted in a significant gap between supply and demand; consequently significant quantities of silage have been fed on many farms as well as 2nd cut silage ground being grazed," she said.

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