Round bale prices hit €50 as farmers scramble for supplies
Transport costs adding to the pressure on farmers in the north-west
Farmers in the north-west are paying up to €50 per round bale of straw to have fodder privately delivered to their farms.
IFA Sligo chair JP Crowley told the Farming Independent that the cost of delivering bales from counties in Munster and Leinster to farms in the north-west is hiking up prices considerably.
"The bales are on sale for €35 per round bale of straw but then the cost of delivery from farms in Tipperary, Wexford and Carlow mean that it can come to €50 per bale," he said.
"Transport costs are a killer and are putting an awful lot of pressure on farmers."
INHFA's Vincent Roddy said that €34 per round bale of straw is the going rate in Roscommon and added that there is without a doubt a "fodder crisis".
"Despite what some may think, there is a fodder crisis here. The ground is the wettest I've ever seen it. It's rain one day after another," he said.
"Northern Irish farmers importing bales from the UK is alleviating some of the pressure here but there is a depressing mood amongst farmers and urgent action has to be taken."
Galway's IFA chair Pat Murphy explained that there is no straw available in south Galway at the moment and that the majority of it is coming from areas such as Borrisokane in north Tipperary for €35 per round bale.
He added that round silage bales are selling at €25 each and is worried, in the wake of Storm Eleanor, that water tables in the county will rise.
"There was lots of coastal flooding in Kinvara and Clarenbridge but the danger is that water tables will rise and lead to further flooding."
IFA's George Collier said that bales in Carlow are being donated free of charge to farmers in the north-west as part of the IFA Emergency Fodder Initiative, but that non-donated round bales of straw are being sold for up to €40 when transport is taken in to account.
Wexford IFA chair James Keogh pointed out that straw is very scarce in the county and that round bales are being sold for more than €30 per bale.
He warned that if there is a late spring, it will not only be counties in the north-west experiencing fodder shortages, but also southern areas. "The problem with straw is that it's a seller's market as it's scarce. If we get a difficult spring, even the driest land in Wexford will be affected," he said.
IFA President Joe Healy has called for the Fodder Action Group to reconvene and urged that the Government take urgent action to support affected farmers in the form of meal vouchers and transport aid.
ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that while it is not yet involved in actual delivery of bales to farmers experiencing fodder shortages, it would review the situation if the weather deteriorated.
Last week, Storm Eleanor with wind speeds of 155km/h damaged farm buildings and caused flooding in the west.
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