Many Kilkenny farmers 'just days' away from running out of fodder

Some are listening to their calves 'bawling for something to eat' in the sheds as they're starving

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

Government urged to act on fodder crisis

Government urged to act on fodder crisis

The Irish Farmers' Association chairperson in Kilkenny, James Murphy, says many farmers here and around the country have "just days" left of fodder. 

Months of wet weather have left many farmers low on feed with the country's supply of fodder dwindling. 

Continuous wet and cold weather meant below-average growth at a time of year when animals would traditionally go back out on grass. 

Speaking to one local farmer on the impact of the crisis, Mr Murphy said: "I found it difficult to listen to because you can see the strain on his face. 

"For him the most stressful sound was a shed full of animals bawling for something to eat when they had nothing to give them and you can't even source any anywhere. 

"It's very serious now at this stage and we desperately need our Minister to act."

Mr Murphy - a farmer in Inistioge - was being interviewed on RTÉ's Morning Ireland earlier today. 

He was also asked what he wanted to see happen and he added: "Urgency for one thing. It looks as if the Minister has been in denial all along because we were aware that there was a fodder crisis in the Western part of the country, the North-West, for months now at this stage. 

"A lot of the fodder stocks in this part of the country moved to that area. The Minister continued to indicate that there was enough fodder for everyone. He's talking about a review of the current fodder stocks. There's no need for a review. 

"There aren't any. There disappearing by the hour now, right around the country. We need a plan, we need a strategy. We're only in the early days of April. This weather could conceivably run on for another month. 

"He's got a responsibility to source fodder some place. There's talk about looking abroad. Okay, let's get cracking, but that won't happen overnight."

Teagasc has set up a Forage Register to help farmers who have run out of silage and other fodder to source supplies from those with a surplus.

Farmers who have silage they can sell are invited to ring their Teagasc office to get it listed on the register. 

Speaking on the same programme, Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said: "I understand the frustration of farmers who normally at this time of the year would have  cattle out on grass. Particularly farmers in the South and East who would have expected a much earlier spring. 

"A lot of farmers would anticipate and budget for having cattle out on grass in late February and we're now into the first week of April.

"It's not fair to say that I have in denial on this issue."

Minister Creed says he has been continually reviewing the situation and they are looking at alternative sources of fodder.

He said the Department's assessment is that there is enough fodder in Ireland, it just about getting it to the right geographical locations.