Farm Ireland

Monday 20 August 2018

Strong growth sees country 'awash' with surplus fodder

John Donworth, Teagasc
John Donworth, Teagasc

Claire mc cormack

Farmyards are set to be "awash" with surplus fodder this summer as demand for hay and silage plummets, a Teagasc expert has said.

However, prices appear to be holding for now, with good round bales of hay still making €20-€25.

John Donworth, regional manager of Teagasc in Kerry and Limerick, says demand is going to be low as it has been a very good season for growth.

"The country is awash with an awful lot of small black bales because there is extra grass growing which will be converted into silage bales," he said.

"This means we have very have little demand for farmers who are selling bales of silage later on in the year," he said.

Mr Donworth says the volume of surplus silage is similar to 2015.

"It's nearly the first of August and grass is growing at a serious rate, which means that over the next three weeks there will be a lot more bales made," he said.

Hay supply and demand is expected to remain relatively stable.

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"The hay market isn't as big because guys really only need hay for calves and the horse guys need very high quality type of product, probably with no dust, so they're a different market and they'd be looking after themselves anyway," he said.

Around the country, sellers are seeing mixed results.

A Wexford farmer is getting €20-€25 per round bale of hay, 4x4, coming out of his field.

He says he is also selling round bales of straw for €8 and square bales, 8x4x3, for around €24.

"We sell a lot, we'd have demand the whole time for straw, we've have customers for hay too but we only started baling in the last few days in the good weather," he said adding that they sell a lot to dairy farmers Sligo and Mayo.

A farmer in Kildare is selling "top class" round bales of hay, 4x4, at €24. "It was cut during the fine weather and 500 were sold before it was even baled," he said.

"Demand isn't that strong, I have my regular customers who buy every year. Others are finding it more difficult to sell," he said.

A farmer in Tipperary, who delivers nationwide, is selling square bales of hay, 4x4, at €33 and round bales of straw, 4x4, at €21. He has 10,000 bales for sale and says they will mostly be sold in the locally.

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