With no notable let-up in the weather for months, it is now April and farmers find themselves still looking at saturated land and animals in sheds.

Having cattle in since mid-October is taking its toll on silage reserves, with some farmers only having 10 days of fodder left.

The Irish Farmers Journal spoke to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) county chairs about the depleting silage reserves across the country and asked them what should be done about it.

Wexford chair Jer O'Mahony pointed out that “it’s not a fodder crisis, there is grass out there - access to fodder is the problem”.

Kilkenny chair Brendan Hickey echoed this and said there was “a world of grass out there, we just can’t get out to it”.

He is aware of “a percentage of farmers who are out of winter fodder” and said there were “a good few round bales moving”.

He said while there was enough fodder "in the county at the moment”, there was only “a week’s supply left”.


Cashflow was also a concern, he said, “money is very very tight”.

“Some farmers are still feeding 8kg of concentrates a day, when they’d usually be down to 3-4kg at this stage,” he said. He encouraged merchants to be lenient with credit.

“There are some people short, but the majority have enough for the next 10 days,” Pat O’Keeffe the north Cork chair said.


He expressed concern for the cereal farmers who are “paying big money for land and don’t have crops in”.

“There has to be a contingency plan in place if this weather is to continue - stakeholders, financial institutions and merchants need to come together.”

He added: “We need to be concerned about the silent farmer. It’s a big challenge out there at the moment.”

Securing silage had not been an issue until recently, Baden Powell, of north Tipperary IFA said. However, now “people giving it are getting worried themselves so it is harder to source”.