DUBLIN, Ireland - Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed on Monday welcomed progress on closing the fodder gap for the winter ahead.
Linking in with the Inter-Agency Fodder group by telephone, the Minister was informed of the most recent Teagasc fodder survey results which identified a significant closing of the gap on fodder nationally with just a 1% national shortfall in fodder now in existence.
It is clear from the latest national fodder survey that the various support interventions have contributed to reducing a fodder deficit that was considered by Teagasc to be potentially as high as 28% in July, to a 1% deficit in November, Creed said Monday.
The Minister stressedthe need to remain vigilant and avoid complacency.
Even now, up to one in 5 farms remain in excess of 10% deficit. The principles of Fodder Budgeting should continue to apply on farms over the winter and I have asked the Group to continue to monitor the situation, he said.
The Minister added that the collaborative effort of stakeholders in the Group, working together, had helped to guide farmers through a difficult period, and avert a significant fodder problem on many farms for this winter and spring.
Over 19,600 hectares of additional crops were sown by 1,700 arable farmers under the fodder production incentive measure for arable farmers, in addition to the 23,000 hectares sown annually under the current measure within the GLAS scheme. The extension to the spreading period for chemical and organic fertiliser allowed farmers to maximise the amount of conserved fodder in what has been an excellent Autumn period for production and utilisation of grass. Minister Creed stressed that those farmers still in deficit can avail of additional fodder through the Fodder Import Support measure which provides a contribution towards the importation of up to 85,000 tonnes of fodder, this measure will remain open until the end of the year.
Our thanks must go to all the members of the Inter-Agency Fodder Group for their work, particularly to advisors from Teagasc and industry, who worked tirelessly on the ground. It is essential that all involved learn from this experience and the sector plans for the future, to ensure that Irish farmers are in a good position to deal with extraordinary weather events should they arise in the future, the Minister said.