According to the FCI, stone and fallen tree branch damage to machines, coupled with damage caused by unrolled and heavily-rutted fields, neglected yards, fences and field entrances are a huge cost concern for silage contractors.
"Silage contractors are now paying the price for the advice given to farmers not to roll land, for fear of stunting grass growth," said FCI chief executive Michael Moroney. "Silage contractors have picked up everything from boulders to bed frames, with one contractor taking a full-size field gate into a new and expensive self-propelled mower," he added.
According to the association, the resulting breakdowns have caused delays for other farmers and put time pressure on contractors, increasing health and safety risks for their employees. This is in addition to elevated fuel prices. With agricultural diesel currently 75c/l more expensive than last year, the FCI calculated the extra cost for a modern silage harvesting system to be in excess of €500 per day.
“We need farmers to understand that to achieve efficiencies from the modern silage harvesting machinery that Irish contractors are continuously investing in, fields and yards must be in a condition to allow these machines and their operators to perform to their optimum for cost-effective harvesting. That demands a basic level of farm planning and land management which most farmers must understand,” Moroney said.
Contractors racing through first cuts
Getting on top of grass quality
In pictures: silage 2018 hits top gear