Minister Creed must take the fodder crisis serious - Martin Kenny TD
Martin Kenny TD, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and Marine, has called on the Minister for Agriculture to put in place a fodder aid package to help alleviate the fodder crisis in the North West.
Deputy Kenny said:
“I understand that over 300 farmers in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal have contacted Teagasc in relation to the fodder shortages, with the majority of them having a 50% shortfall in fodder this winter.
"In addition to this much of the fodder in the North West is of very poor quality as the silage was baled wet and very late in the year.
“We can see from Marts that farmers are selling off livestock with dry cow numbers very high, as farmers are afraid they will not have enough fodder.
“While the minister may claim there is enough fodder in the country the reality is that prices are skyrocketing for farmers, with silage being quoted at €30 per bale plus haulage on top of that, hay can be up to €40 per bale.
"The issue here is about affordability. Suckler cow farmers and sheep farmers are in the lowest income bracket and do not have the resources to buy fodder.
“The advice being given to farmers is, if you have 50% fodder then stretch it out and supplement it with concentrates. Farmers need direct assistance from government to buy meal in order to avoid this developing into an animal welfare crisis.
"At least with meal you know what you are getting, buying silage can be a risk as you don’t know if the quality is good and it can be easily damaged in transit resulting in it having to be used up quickly.
“Farmers are being put under enormous financial pressure to buy fodder. It’s time the minister addressed the issue and put in place a fodder aid package now to help farmers.
“We in Sinn Fein have suggested that this could be done by way of a meal voucher for farmers to buy meal in their local feed merchants.
“The government must take this fodder crisis serious and they need to act now.”