Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced a transport subsidy scheme to move fodder around the country in the current wet weather spell.

A financial contribution of up to €40 per bale is being provided to offset the transport costs of hay, fodder beet, straw and silage for feeding, where this involves a distance of more than 75km.

Farmers will be paid €20 per 4x4 bale of hay or straw for feeding, €30 per 4x4 bale of haylage or silage and €40 per 8x4x3 bale of silage.

Silage or hay bought prior to 31 March is not eligible for the scheme and farmers will be able to download application forms from the Department's website.

Payment rates

The Minister explained to the National Fodder and Food Security Committee meeting that the scheme would be operated through co-ops and would be available from Tuesday 9 April.

He said he hoped that it will help with challenges farmers with a fodder deficit currently face in different regions.

"As fodder is traded between farms on a regular basis, it is essential that the support measure being announced today is targeted at those who most need it and does not impact on the normal functioning of the market for fodder.

"I am grateful that the co-op structure is supporting the practical implementation of this measure," the Minister said.

Last week, the Minister said that a fodder support scheme was being prepared to support the transportation of fodder.

Incoming Taoiseach Simon Harris pledged over the weekend to look at practical supports for farmers in light of the ongoing atrocious weather.

Tillage sector

The Minister explained that it is a trying time for tillage farmers and that he will assess the situation again in a week or so.

He closed his remarks to the committee by emphasising that “it can be really lonely and stressful” at this time. He said it is important everyone reaches out and supports one another.

More to follow.