Farmers flat-out with their own ‘Gathering’ as the silage rolls in

A FLAT-OUT week for hay and silage will be a major help in trying to build up the stocks of fodder on Galway farms for the coming Winter, according to Teagasc this week.

Teagasc – who are due to have the results of their comprehensive fodder survey released next week – said that exceptional growth over recent weeks, in addition to the extended spell of fine weather, had given a massive boost to the farming community.

Galway-Clare Teagasc Regional Manager, Brendan Heneghan, told the Farming Tribune, that while this Spring’s fodder clean-out had left nearly all supplies exhausted, a substantial amount of good quality hay and silage was now being got.

“What we all hoped for last January was an ‘early Spring’ and when we didn’t get that, it put the farming community under the most severe pressure.

“After that, next on our wish list was an extended dry spell during the early to mid-summer period and thankfully we’re getting that . . . and what a difference it has made to the whole outlook of farmers here in the West.

“The Winter and Spring gone by, presented one of the greatest ever challenges to the farming community but hopefully with the recent spell of good weather, we can now start to rebuild and replenish the fodder stocks across the board,” said Brendan Heneghan.

He also added that given the ‘run’ of successively wet years, soils – and particularly heavy soils – needed an extended fine spell to dry them out.

“A long hot Summer is the best drainage system that any farmer on softer lands could hope for. At last, fields that have been soggy for many months, are now drying out,” said Brendan Heneghan.

National IFA President, John Bryan, said that farmers around the country were making the most of the current fine weather and excellent grass growing conditions to replenish winter fodder stocks.

 “A good summer is critical to ensure that enough fodder is saved for next winter after the disastrous 12 months of difficult weather. Cereals, fruit and vegetable crops are also benefiting from the fine weather,” he added

 Mr Bryan said however that huge merchant debt had been incurred by farmers buying in expensive feed over the last 12 months and despite the improved weather conditions, cashflow remained very tight on many farms.

 The IFA President again called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to secure low interest EIB finance to help farmers pay down merchant debt and repair badly damaged cashflows.