Farm Ireland
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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Fears farmers are cashing in on 'dire' fodder shortage

There is uncertainty around fodder supplies
There is uncertainty around fodder supplies
Stock photo
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Concerns have been raised that some farmers may be hiking prices for their surplus fodder to take advantage of an ongoing shortage in some parts of the country.

The cost of straw, hay and silage has doubled since the harvest as farmers in the Border counties and north-west struggle to secure fodder supplies.

The delivered charge for wheaten straw has hit €60-65 for 8x4x3 bales, with 4x4 bales making €35-40. These prices are 100pc higher than those available in early September.

The cost of good quality hay has also rocketed, with prices ranging from €38 to €42 for 4x4 bales, depending on the quality.

Supplies of barley straw have dried up and good quality wheaten straw is increasingly difficult to source.

In Clare, IFA county chairman Willie Hanrahan said he is still hoping to get fodder to farmers at a reasonable cost.

He said that he is trying to work with the supplies within the county. "If people have extra supplies we would be encouraging them to liaise with their neighbours and to supply fodder at a reasonable cost.

"It's a pity if people try to cash in on the situation and charge exorbitant prices of their neighbours," he said.

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IFA president Joe Healy insisted Agriculture Minister Michael Creed cannot ignore the developing crisis any longer.

Crisis

Mr Healy called for a further meeting of the Fodder Action Group to be urgently convened to assess the situation and to establish actions required to avoid a crisis this winter.

He said the credibility of the minister's establishment of the group will be questioned unless he calls a meeting as soon as possible to deliver tangible outcomes.

"A Teagasc survey has clearly established that 85pc of farmers affected by fodder shortages in the north-west region have, on average, less than half of the fodder they need for the winter.

"That is a very stark situation for the farmers affected and the very poor weather will only add to the problem.

"The minister has been aware of the dire situation for some time, he has acknowledged the difficulties farmers are experiencing, but has yet to offer any tangible support. Immediate action is required.

"It is very disappointing that the minister has to date failed to support a meal voucher system, which we strongly believe would have been the best and most efficient solution. We are now seeking a commitment from the minister to fund the significant cost of transporting fodder to the areas in need."

The IFA has mobilised its national county and branch network to support those farmers in most difficulty.

Counties have been twinned to identify farmers who are in a position to contribute feed that can be transported to areas in need at reasonable cost.

Irish Independent

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