Trying to bridge gap in fodder needs

Siobhan Kavanagh: Plan now for the Winter ahead.
Siobhan Kavanagh: Plan now for the Winter ahead.

FARMERS facing into a Winter shortfall of fodder have been advised by Teagasc to consider bridging any gaps through the purchase of concentrate feeds.

With the ongoing drought increasing fears by the day of another fodder crisis through the coming Winter, planning a fodder budget is now considered an ‘essential’.

According to Teagasc Regional Manager, Siobhán Kavanagh, if you have 80% or more of your forage requirements for the coming Winter, then concentrates can be used to fill the gap.

She advises farmers purchasing forages/wet feeds to get them analysed for nutritional value in relation to preservation; dry matter DMD and crude protein.

“Is the feed you are buying of consistent quality? Barley straw, as in most years, is likely to be of consistent quality.

“However baled silage is of very variable quality and is commonly referred to as ‘lucky bag’ silage.

“Likewise, if growing a crop of forage rape, are you guaranteed good yield and quality compared with buying straw and meals to fill the gap.

“The meals and straw option is less risky,” Siobhán Kavanagh points out in an article in the July-August edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm.

She has also advised farmers not to overlook any ‘hidden costs’ that also need to be factored into a fodder budget for the Winter ahead.

These include such things as storage, transport, capital (borrowings/interest), storage treatment costs, processing (e.g. rolling), balancing for proteins and minerals, and labour/machinery costs for feedout.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.