A large cohort of farmers plan to sell their livestock ahead of the winter period in order to combat fodder shortages on their farms, a Teagasc survey has found.

Teagasc surveyed 498 farmers in June and found that 30% of drystock farmers and 27% of dairy farmers are facing fodder deficits this winter.

Two-thirds of dairy farmers who are short on fodder plan to sell stock. Of this figure, 34% will sell poorly-performing stock only, while 33% will offload stock regardless of performance. On cattle farms, 33% of farmers said they would sell animals to offset the deficit. Of this figure, 9% said they would cull poorly-performing stock only.

The survey found that overall average fodder stocks after first cut silage stand at 60% for dairy farms and 64% for drystock farms. The target for feed on hand after first cut is 70% for dairy farms and 77% for drystock farms.

Teagasc told the meeting that planned second cuts will meet fodder budgets on 68% of drystock farms and 58% of dairy farms. However between 32% and 42% of farms need to act to secure additional fodder supplies beyond second cut crops.


Of the farmers who said they were experiencing a deficit, 30% of drystock farmers said that the deficit would create cash flow issues on farms. Twelve per cent of these farmers said that credit will be needed. Some 38% of dairy farmers said they expect a cashflow issue arising from the fodder shortage, and 12% said they will need credit as a result.

Farmers are advised to complete a fodder budget to see what their winter feed requirements are like and to assess year to date fertiliser usage against their allowances.