Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and the Department should be acknowledged for the sense of urgency they have injected into dealing with the impact of soaring costs on fodder supplies.

As we report in this week's edition, there are a number of steps that can be taken to boost forage reserves. If the focus is also to increase grain production, the objective should be to get more land under the control of specialised grain growers who should be incentivised to grow crops that maximise yield per hectare. But these farmers need both market and financial security before making the huge investment in additional inputs. Co-ops can provide the market security while the minister can provide the financial security – both in terms of input costs and temporary tax breaks for conacre rents.