Teagasc expects fodder crisis to cost farmers in region of €450m
The 2012/2013 fodder crisis cost farmers at least €450m and may cost much more when long-term productivity losses are taken into account, Teagasc research has found.
Massive increases in concentrate feed use and the importation of hay and silage from abroad cost farmers €390m, according to Thia Hennessey of Teagasc's economic research department.
Concentrate feed use on dairy farms increased by 53pc in the two-year period between 2011 and 2013, rising from €160/hd to an estimated €360/hd.
Concentrate feed use rose by 71pc on beef farms during the same period, from €80/hd to an estimated €190/hd.
The crisis also cost €64m in output losses from farms. Milk output fell by 3-4pc in 2012 as a result of poor weather, costing dairy farmers €47m in reduced milk deliveries, or €27m in lost profit.
Losses in the beef and sheep sector were more difficult to quantify as farmers chose to slaughter animals earlier than usual. However, the deaths of 23,000 animals due to the fodder shortage nationwide amounted to a loss of €17m, Ms Hennessey told the conference.
The Teagasc expert warned that the €450m may not be the final tally for the fodder crisis.