Potential fodder crisis facing Tipp farmers

Thursday, 19 July 2018

AFTER enduring a gruellingly long winter and pulling through an unexpectedly intense heatwave in recent weeks, farmers in Tipperary could now be faced with a fodder crisis because grass growth is so scant.
This week Tipperary TD, Jackie Cahill (FF) said that a new fodder crisis is brewing as a result of the warm and dry weather that the country has been enjoying over the past month.
Deputy Cahill was commenting after asking a Priority Question to the Minister for Agriculture in the D-il this week and argued that less than two months after the last crisis, farmers are now ìunder severe financial, physical and mental health stress as they struggle to manage their fodder stocks.î
ìAnimals should be out grazing on grass, not eating fodder. Fodder stocks have been running low for the past year.
ìAs grass growth slows, the ability of farmers to replenish their fodder stocks for the coming winter has also been diminished and I am gravely concerned for farmers and their animals, not only in the immediate period ahead, but over the coming six to nine months,î Deputy Cahill said.
ìThere literally isnít any fodder to be had in the country, and if we get a similar winter and spring that we had recently, animals will die and farmers will struggle,î the Tipperary TD and lifelong farmer said.
Deputy Cahill told the Tribune he has personally asked the Minister for Agriculture to ensure that adequate support is in place to help farmers who risk another fodder shortage due to the extreme hot weather.
ìFrom his responses to me, I donít feel that the Government are treating this issue with the urgency that it deserves. This needs to change or we risk disaster in rural Ireland,î concluded Cahill.
However, some farmer groups have disagreed this week and say it's too early to accurately predict if there is an impending fodder shortage.
ICMSAís Farm & Rural Affairs Chairman, Denis Drennan, said there was no need yet for alarm among the farming community at national level, but called on Irish Water to communicate early and frequently, in the event of there being water shortages or any limitation of supplies.
The IFA have warned of the danger of forest fires, but restricted their fodder shortage announcements to calling for an exemption from a July 1 deadline, to allow farmers cut traditional hay meadows early.
Farmers will not be faced with challenges for next winter's fodder unless the intense heatwave conditions persevered for several more weeks and water shortages to supply the county's cattle would be the priority concern if those circumstances arose.


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