THERE have been renewed calls this week for Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, to ‘tune in’ to the fodder crisis that’s facing many farmers across the West of Ireland following the wet summer and autumn periods.
Opposition TDs in the West of Ireland and the IFA have warned that many farmers across in the region will be in serious trouble over the coming months with fodder supplies already running low in places, due to the early housing of stock.
Galway East FF TD, Anne Rabbitte, said that over the past week she had spoken to a farmer in the Tuam area who would normally have 150 to 160 bales left at this time of year, who was now down to 60 because of early housing.
“We cannot have a case of kicking the can down the road, as we did last year when it took ten months to address the tillage crisis fund. If that emerges as the case, we will have animals dying because farmers will not be able to afford to feed them,” said Deputy Rabbitte.
According to Roscommon/Galway Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, the worst affected areas in relation to a shortage of fodder was Leitrim as well as parts of Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Roscommon.
“Farmers will have to assess whether they are paying over the odds for silage is the best move, or whether to use meal along with silage might prove to be a cheaper option.
“They should talk to their planners to ensure that they have a balanced diet for their stock and work out what is the best option for them. I will be raising this matter by Parliamentary Question with the Minister for Agriculture,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.
Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that he was concerned at the apparent lack of awareness by Minister Creed as regards the extent of the problem in the West of Ireland.
“First and foremost, we want an acknowledgement from the Minister that the problem exists and secondly, we want a system to be put in place that will help to identify the farmers that are in genuine need of assistance,” said Pat Murphy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.