Demand for organic feed will be in the region of 59,000t next winter and 50,000 bales of organic hay or silage will be needed, according to a survey carried out by the Department of Agriculture.

It is estimated that overall demand for concentrates could be in the region of 33,000t, around 20,000t for straights and 6,000t for protein crops such as pea/barley mixes.

Just over 910 survey responses were received by the Department from Irish organic farmers.

The survey took place against the background of a significant increase in organic farmer numbers and area over the past couple of years.

Farmer numbers doubled to 4,000 in 2023, with another 1,000 farmers joining the Organic Farming Scheme in 2024.

Organic land will reach 5% of overall agricultural area in 2024 and is well on target to achieve 10% by 2030, as set out in Ireland’s climate action plan.

Announcing the results, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said that they show consistent growth following the organic feed survey carried out last year as regards demand for concentrated feed, straights and forage.

“It will help inform planting decisions this spring. Organics and tillage have been highlighted in Food Vision as an opportunity for farmers," she said.

Organic tillage

These results, she added, also show the growing demand for organic feed and the opportunity to increase the area of organic tillage in Ireland.

"There is an opportunity for an organic Irish mill as the sector continues to grow," she said.