Dairygold confirms that is has organised for the importation of over 2,500 tonnes of fodder (haylage and hay) from the UK with the first loads due to arrive in Ireland on Thursday, April 5.
Dairygold noted that the imported fodder was essential to alleviate the current shortage for Irish farmers who are struggling with a long winter followed by the unseasonably cold and wet spring, which has significantly delayed grass growth.
Daily shipments are due right through the weekend and into next week.
The fodder will be distributed to Dairygold’s farmers via the branch network across the Munster catchment region. Dairygold is advising members who have fodder difficulties to contact their Dairygold area sales manager or milk advisors so that the distribution of fodder can be effectively coordinated to support those in most urgent need.
The Society assures members that the fodder will be at cost price at source in the UK.
Dairygold has been working with members over the last 10 days to source fodder from locations around Ireland. Since the situation became more acute, with inadequate supplies available within Ireland, an emergency contingency plan was put in place.
Dairygold chairman John O’Gorman explained: “There has been a definite tightening of fodder stocks especially in the last week. The heavy rain across the country over Easter weekend compounded an already bad situation on the ground for dairy farmers following one of the worst winters on record. Instead of having animals out at grass, our members are still dealing with housed animals and all the feeding requirements that involves.
“We have no doubt that this imported fodder is essential. Unfortunately, ground temperatures and grass growth remain well below normal for this time of year, so at this point in time it’s difficult to know when dairy farmers will be in a position to return to grazing. This period between the calving and the breeding season is a critical time for animal health and nutrition.
“This is a very costly operation and we will be making this point to the Department and recommending that it initiates its haulage-support programme that worked so well to assist in industry during the last fodder crisis in 2013.”
Then Dairygold imported over 10,000 tonnes of fodder from the UK and France to alleviate a critical shortage on members’ farms.