‘Act early’ on fodder budget for the Winter campaign

Pat Murphy

FARMERS have been strongly advised to do an ‘early assessment’ of their animal feed supplies and stocking levels to ensure that they don’t take a financial hit next Spring if silage is scarce and expensive.

Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that there were undoubtedly parts of the West and North-West where farmers were looking at a serious fodder deficit for the coming Winter.

“What we would be advising in IFA is to act now on the situation. If you feel that you won’t have enough fodder, maybe it’s a time to sell off extra stock and reduce numbers ahead of the peak winter feeding season.

“It has been a very difficult late Summer and Autumn period due to the heavy rainfall and poor ground conditions. Many farmers have found it difficult to get a second cut of silage and in some extreme cases even to get a first cut,” said Pat Murphy.

He advised that there was no point in letting a bad situation get worse through the winter period. “Maybe a time to reduce livestock numbers and if there is reasonably good quality fodder available in your area, then now is the time to buy it,” said Pat Murphy.

Teagasc have advised all farmers to complete a very simple fodder budget or audit on their farm and to consider the two options of reducing stock numbers and buying in some extra fodder. Poor harvest weather conditions have also made the situation worse, with straw in very short supply across the country.

“With many farmers already having housed some stock due to weather conditions, there is a need to monitor fodder stocks carefully – complete a simple fodder budget on your farm,” Anthony O’Connor of Teagasc has advised.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.