SUPPLIES of desperately needed farm fodder are scheduled to arrive in Ireland today – with further consignments over the coming weeks, the IFA has said.
Farmers without sufficient grass and still coping with a shortage of animal feed have been waiting anxiously for the latest supplies to arrive from the UK.
Fodder has been brought into the country in the past few days by co-ops and farm groups in an attempt to offset the crisis still facing feeding livestock in various parts of the country.
In a major logistical exercise, the Connacht Gold store at Airglooney, in Tuam, Co Galway, imported 50 loads of hay and haylage from the UK over the last week.
The fodder is being distributed to farmers throughout the province, as well as in counties Donegal, Longford and Westmeath.
The price of the fodder, which was sold to farmers at cost price, was significantly reduced by a special fund established by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
IFA President John Bryan told the Irish Independent that supplies coming into the country will greatly benefit farmers all over, with hard-pressed areas in the west and north of the country first to benefit.
"West Limerick, Clare, Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Connemara, Cavan and Monaghan are the worst affected. Western and northern parts of the country are seriously impacted at this stage and deliveries there will continue for the next couple of weeks. The grass has started to grow and things have warmed up in the South so the problem there has abated," he said.
IFA leaders in the West are appealing to farmers to help out neighbours wherever possible and even to operate a barter system in the event of funds being unavailable.