Spring with no grass is beginning to hit home

Christy Lally from Kilbeacanty with his 8-months-old son Thomas taking part at the Kilbeacanty charity tractor run and family friendly day out to support mental health awareness, Photo: Hany Marzouk.
Christy Lally from Kilbeacanty with his 8-months-old son Thomas taking part at the Kilbeacanty charity tractor run and family friendly day out to support mental health awareness, Photo: Hany Marzouk.

THE Spring of 2018 is now rivalling 2013 in terms of poor grass growth across the country with concerns now being raised about a serious knock-on impact for the coming silage season.

Galway IFA Environmental Chairman, Bertie Roche, told the Farming Tribune that the below average temperatures of February and March – following on from a very wet January – were now beginning to hit home.

He said it was to be regretted that the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, hadn’t seen fit to introduce a meaningful ‘meal voucher’ scheme instead of a silage transport subsidy, that hadn’t worked.

“Unfortunately, the end result of all this is that there have been high mortality rates with livestock across parts of Galway. A lot of the damage has been done,” said Bertie Roche.

He said that what Teagasc refer to as ‘The Magic Day’ – when grass growth equals demand – now was slipping further back into April with grass growth the worst he had seen for many years.

He added that there were also fears of a knock-on effect into next year, especially with all reservers of fodder either used up already, or set to be exhausted over the next couple of weeks.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the IFA and farmers were ‘extremely disappointed’ at the response of Minister Creed to the grass and fodder crisis that has been well flagged over recent months.

“This is not a normal situation. Because of the weather, many farmers had to house stock last September and now six to seven months later, they cannot be let out due to the lack of grass and poor ground conditions.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.