Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has been called upon to outline his response to the worsening fodder shortage by Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture Claire Kerrane TD.

Deputy Kerrane said there have been warnings about a possible fodder shortage in recent months and this is now the case for farmers in certain parts of the country.

“Early housing of animals in the autumn has resulted in farmers coming to the end of their own fodder stocks and are now facing higher prices for buying silage in to bridge the gap.

“In addition, continued bad weather looks likely to delay turnout further, which potentially places many family farms under additional financial pressure as a result of the cost of keeping animals housed.

“I know many farmers are facing difficulties due to poor weather conditions, which have also delayed planting and sowing, as well as the turning out of livestock,” she said.

No supports at present

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture referenced a parliamentary question she asked the Minister last week, to which he responded that he currently does not intend to introduce supports to assist farmers with buying fodder, but he will continue to monitor the situation.

“I had called on Minister McConalogue to outline his response to a possible fodder shortage back in January.

“Now this has become a reality, it is important that he make clear what actions he is considering in response to farmers experiencing difficulties as result of this fodder shortage and prolonged weather conditions.

“Many family farmers are already under financial pressure as a result of increased input costs and an additional round of costs only adds to that pressure.

“I am calling on the Minister to outline his response to the worsening fodder shortage and expect him to do so sooner rather than later,” she said.