COOLMORE Stud, the world's largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses, has donated more than 450 tonnes of silage and 1,500 bales of hay to help farmers with the ongoing fodder crisis.
The donation comes as the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) also announced a €2m cash fund to help farmers meet the costs of the unprecedented weather-related feed shortages.
The IDB will distribute the money through its local co-operative members as it said they were best placed to assess the needs of farmers on the ground.
"It is imperative that we respond where we can to this disastrous situation facing farmers. We hope this fund can help to alleviate the on-going crisis," said IDB chief executive Kevin Lane.
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) also yesterday launched its own €1m fodder crisis fund, which will include shipping in 3,000 tonnes of hay from France next week. The IFA has teamed up with other agribusinesses, including FBD Insurance, Origin Enterprises, and IFAC Accountants, to secure funds that will also be used to subsidise the costs of importing feed from Britain.
"Farm families are making major personal and financial sacrifices to ensure that their livestock are fed," said IFA president John Bryan.
Their scheme will provide transport subsidies of between €500 and €750 per load of forage imported from Britain by marts and merchants who do not have access to the government scheme, which is only available to co-ops.
Coolmore Stud, which is headquartered in Fethard, Co Tipperary, first donated 400 tonnes of silage to local farms and then followed this up with another 50 tonnes of silage and 1,500 square bales of hay to farmers in Co Clare.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney yesterday announced a one-week extension to the €1m Imported Fodder Transport Scheme, which is being used to subsidise the high transport cost of imported fodder. He said that up to 6,000 tonnes of maize silage were being sourced for early delivery to Ireland.