Farm Ireland

Friday 18 January 2019

Inter-farm trading between tillage growers and livestock farms to be encouraged

Tom O'Dwyer, Teagasc
Tom O'Dwyer, Teagasc
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Moves are being made to encourage inter-farm trading of forage between tillage growers and livestock farmers ahead of next winter.

Thomas Curran, farm structures specialist in Teagasc, said advisors will assist the efforts of all agricultural merchants matching farmers for forage needs in the coming days.

He pointed out that the Teagasc Maize Guide contained an inter-farm trading template which can be used as a guide to base an agreement for the purchase of maize or other crops.

"Trust plays a huge part where farmers are working together. Where there is trust and a written agreement which is discussed and signed up to by both parties, these arrangements are successful," said Mr Curran.

"Sourcing maize close to the farm can be an issue, therefore farmers further apart may need to work together.

"In these cases the parties involved may not know each other initially; therefore a leap of faith is necessary. This can be eased considerably where there is an intermediary to help facilitate the arrangement."

Farmers were first urged to complete a winter feed budget for the year ahead to identify the gaps.

Tom O'Dwyer, head of dairy knowledge transfer in Teagasc, said many farms now have extra livestock compared to other years.

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"Not only is extra cover needed for these animals, but a larger forage buffer is needed to cover potential adverse weather like this year. It is better to plan and make arrangements for the supply of additional quality fodder sooner rather than later," he said.

It is understood that Dairygold, with Teagasc's assistance, will run a pilot programme this year that will examine all aspects of contract growing maize.

The Dairygold branch network will be utilised to weigh each load before delivery.

The crop will be analysed for dry matter and starch to ensure the grower is rewarded for producing a quality crop and the end user is charged a fair price for the maize.

Dairygold is also looking into utilising the co-op structure to help farmers in the pilot programme, with a view to allay fears of non-payment or non-delivery by both parties.

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