Fodder conservation must be priority, says Minister

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed

Speaking after a meeting of the Fodder Coordination Group the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed said: “I wish to commend the ongoing efforts of the Group and the work its members are undertaking to mitigate the effects of the current dry period on grazing and fodder supplies.

The Minister added: “Practical advice being shared across the group on dealing both with the current weather and, also, on filling the fodder gap that has now been identified is critical to our managing this challenge. In light of potential shortfalls in fodder identified in the first fodder survey, the overall priority must be to conserve as much feed for the coming winter when the opportunity to do so arises and to take advantage of growth when it resumes after the current drought.”

The Minister re-iterated, given the challenge, the absolute need for a collective approach, urging everyone to support and participate actively in efforts targeted to mitigate the impacts of the extended dry conditions nationwide. In this regard he emphasised the positive role for industry and banking representatives on the Fodder Group.

Minister Creed welcomed the initiatives taken to date which include; the availability of an advisory helpline for farmers with direct access to a Teagasc advisors: 087 797 1377 open 9am-9pm, the provision of coordinated advice by co-ops and compounders, the availability of additional concentrate feed for farmers and the provision of dedicated credit lines by the pillar banks and a number of cooperatives.

Acknowledging the ongoing concerns of the farming community Minister Creed continued: “As I have indicated previously, it is not only Ireland but also other EU Member States that are affected by this dry spell. I have requested that the Commission to ensure the earliest approval of advance direct support payments this autumn in order to support farmers cope with this prolonged challenging period.”