Farm Ireland

Thursday 18 January 2018

Silage hits €40/bale in the southwest

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

As farmers find themselves getting closer and closer to the back wall of the silage pit, the price of hay and silage is varying by as much as €20/bale.

While some extortionate prices of €40 per bale of silage have been charged in Kerry and other counties, farmers in parts of Limerick are finding it hard to sell silage at €20/bale.

Prices quoted for round bales of hay range from €22 for 4x4 round bale in Carlow to €25/ bale in neighbouring Wexford, Laois and further north in Louth.

Good quality 2011 hay was sold in Co Cavan for €35/bale, while in Limerick good quality 2012 hay sold for €35-38/bale. All prices quoted are for bales collected ex-yard.

Hay moving from Athy, Co Kildare to Roscommon, east Mayo and Galway sold for €30-36/bale (delivered).

Silage quotes range from €20/bale for good quality silage in Kilkenny and Wicklow to €25/bale in Galway and Tipperary. Pit silage for sale in Kilkenny was priced at €30/t, with several interested parties at that price.

In Kerry, silage is selling for €25-35/bale in general, although one commentator said some individual farmers desperate for fodder had been "robbed at €40/bale for silage and good hay." Some farmers in Donegal have also been charged €30-40/bale, while others secured stocks at €25/bale.

The fodder situation has reached crisis point on many farms in the past week as heavy rains and cold temperatures decimated spring grass growth.

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Teagasc grassland expert Michael O'Donovan said growth rates were down 40pc on the same week last year at Moorepark, acknowledged as one of the best farms in the country for growing grass.

"Soil temperature is half what it should be, at 5.1C instead of 9-10C. Growth is at 15-20kg dry matter per hectare per day, when we should be pushing towards 30-35kg/day," he said.

It is a similar story in Cavan's Ballyhaise College, where farm manager Donal Patton recorded growth rates of 5kg DM/ha/day last week. Normal growth for this time in March would be 20kg DM/ha/day.

In Donegal, Teagasc's Seamus Culhane said growth rates were 80pc lower than normal.

"So far in March we've only had two days with high enough temperatures for grass to grow. Growth rates are 2-3kg DM/ha/day, compared to a normal rate of 15-16kg DM/ha/day.

But, Michael O'Donovan maintained that once soil temperatures increase, grass growth would recover quickly.

Irish Independent