Farmers fear fodder crisis in the west

HUNDREDS of farmers dotted across Galway and the West of Ireland region facing fodder shortages this winter are hoping that a national Crisis Action Team to be set up over the next week will deliver results.

The commitment to set up the Crisis Action Team – given on Tuesday evening by Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, to the IFA – will look into the possibility of providing animal feed vouchers and a subsidy for the transportation of silage and hay to the West.

The very wet late summer and autumn periods have delivered a ‘double whammy’ to farmers in the West and especially to those farming on heavier soils.

Many of those farmers failed to get a second cut of silage with the ground too soft for machinery to work on, while they were then forced to house cattle as early as last August, in the process ‘eating into’ their fodder stocks.

Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy – a member of the IFA deputation led by President Joe Healy that met with Minister Creed on Tuesday – said that the Minister and his officials were now fully aware of the scale of the fodder crisis in the West.

“There are no ifs or buts about it. Farmers in many parts of the West and North-West are looking at a situation where they will be out of silage early enough in the New Year and that is a real pressure situation.

“While we are aware of the concerns the Department has about any scheme inflaming the price of fodder – and ‘the policing’ of any meal voucher scheme – there are ways to ensure that a target scheme can be organised properly,” said Pat Murphy.

He also made a plea for farmers who have extra fodder stocks available for sale to price it a reasonable rate – ‘around the €25 a bale mark’ – to help out their colleagues who are in genuine trouble.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.