An immediate fertiliser and lime subsidy is needed for farmers in the west of Ireland to ensure there will be enough silage for next winter, according to Mayo Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) chair Jarlath Walsh.

He said following a meeting of the Mayo IFA executive on Wednesday evening that there will be a "fodder crisis" if fertiliser is not spread now.

Walsh argued that if farmers have the same funds to buy fertiliser this year as they did last year, the volume would be cut by one third.

Spreading less

"The lower income sectors are spreading a lot less this year. We need to be putting out these fertilisers now when they will work their best.

"There is already precedent there in Europe to aid farmers. We saw Polish farmers received a subsidy for fertiliser," he said.

Mayo IFA branch delegates all expressed concerns at the meeting that many drystock farmers across the west of Ireland had purchased very little fertiliser this spring due to the exorbitant costs and reduced availability.

"Fertiliser prices have quadrupled since this time last year, thus resulting in many farmers not purchasing fertiliser, which will lead to fodder shortages next autumn and spring.

This could become a critical situation on many farms across the west

"This could become a critical situation on many farms across the west if action is not taken during the critical growing season," Walsh said.

Walsh went on to to say that the IFA, over many years, had highlighted the exorbitant EU tariffs imposed on fertiliser, which ultimately drove up prices.

He said the war in Ukraine has made things much more difficult in accessing supplies and both the EU and the Irish Government needed to act on this.

"The only way to avert a fodder crisis next year was the immediate introduction of a fertiliser and lime subsidy," he said.


Walsh added that contractors are also under significant financial pressure between the cost of fuel and machinery.

"From the contractors' point of view, they need more VAT reduction on diesel and the Government and EU can't forget about them.

"They're an important cog in the wheel," he said.