The idea to implement a fodder scheme was put forward in the Dáil on Wednesday 8 November by Martin Kenny, Sinn Féin TD for the Sligo-Leitrim constituency, who said that many of his constituents were already suffering from a shortage of fodder this year.

“Last week, I spoke to a farmer who had made a cut of silage in mid-June. Half of that silage is now gone and he never managed a second cut. That is a problem for many farmers in the northwest,” Deputy Kenny said.

Responding to Deputy Kenny, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said: “We will monitor the situation. We do not envisage that the crisis is on the scale that the deputy has spoken about.”

As previously reported in the Irish Farmers Journal, farmers along the west coast in particular were hit by prolonged periods of wet weather this year. This meant that farmers could not make a second cut of silage and had to remove cattle from heavy covers and house them earlier then they intended.

This extended period of housing has exacerbated the fodder situation and farmers are struggling to see how they can make supplies last until spring.

Minister Creed urged farmers to contact their advisers to calculate a fodder budget. He also outlined that while the situation was being monitored, there were no plans to import fodder for farmers or implement an emergency scheme.

“I am satisfied that there is sufficient fodder in the country, though there may be regional imbalances,” Creed said. “It is unlike previous years where fodder was required and the State stepped in and imported it from the UK. I do not see that as being the case but it must be constantly monitored.”

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