Both drystock and dairy farms are well placed to have more than enough fodder for the coming winter, the latest Teagasc fodder survey has shown.

Almost 650 fodder budgets have been completed by Teagasc advisers in recent weeks.

They reveal that drystock farms are reporting a projected surplus of approximately 29% of what they need, while dairy farms are similarly well placed at approximately 18% overall surplus.

Dairy farms in the midland-northeast region have the smallest surplus of fodder, equivalent to five to seven days of extra feeding in winter. Teagasc said this represented an improvement on 2020. Dairy farms in other regions are showing better feed reserves.

Drystock farms in all regions have reported strong feed surpluses, with surpluses of 27% to 34% in fodder.


However, the Teagasc survey shows that 8% of farms have significant fodder shortages.

Some 7% of dairy farms surveyed have a fodder deficit of more than 20% of their winter requirements.

Similarly, 12% of drystock farms had a deficit greater than 20% of their winter requirements.

Teagasc warned that previous experience of fodder shortages in Ireland has shown that farms with deficits of more than 20% as winter begins significant practical and financial difficulties feeding their animals.

Commenting on the results of the fodder survey, Teagasc’s Joe Patton said: “There were some regional issues with growth rate at certain times of the year, but, overall, farmers have managed winter feed stocks very well.

“Teagasc recommends carrying a rolling winter feed surplus of 25% to 30% to insulate against weather shocks and many farms are near that level,” he added.

Micheal O’Leary of Teagasc PastureBase said: “Autumn grass growth and grazing conditions have been excellent for most regions.

“Farmers should plan now to extend the grazing season, while making sure to meet closing grass cover targets. This will help to reduce overall winter feed demand,” he added.

Head of advisory services in Teagasc Dermot McCarthy said: “We would encourage more farmers to complete their own fodder budgets before winter starts.”