A topical debate on the fodder crisis was part of the proceedings in the Dáil yesterday, as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD, and eight Fianna Fáil Deputies met.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said that has been “very conscious” throughout the last new of months of the “difficult weather conditions” as he responded to Fianna Fáil deputies.
“It appears there are supplies of fodder in the form of silage and hay across the country as a whole for those farmers who may require it to supplement their own fodder supply.” Creed said.
“We have surplus in certain areas and a deficit in other areas.” Creed said.
Creed spoke about the advance of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which resulted in an increase from 50% to 70% for farmers whose applications were submitted and cleared.
The Minister added that the BPS payments and the payments made under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme have already injected over €800 million into the Irish rural economy.
“They are providing a very welcome boost for Irish farm families and will help to finance fodder purchase where necessary.” Creed said.
Charlie McConalogue- Aid fund for affected farmers
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson said that the government is “walking us into another fodder crisis” because of failure to take action.
McConalogue has called on the Minister to take action and establish an aid fund for affected farmers.
“Chronic fodder shortage”
“As a result of another wet summer this year, many farmers have left many farmers facing a chronic fodder shortage. The wet weather has left many fields waterlogged and farmers have been unable to harvest a second cut of silage.” Deputy McConalogue said.
He also said how animals have been housed earlier than usual, tapping into fodder reserves that traditionally are utilised for the winter period.
Deputy McConalogue said the current situation that farmers find themselves in is “almost the exact same” as 2012, saying that the then government was “forced into action.”
He added that the situation is “particularly bad” in the North West and West, but has since spread to the Midlands and Mid-West.
“Minister Creed cannot continue to ignore this problem – I am calling on him to have his Department, assisted by Teagasc, to carry out a survey to establish what farmers are worst affected and in need of immediate assistance and to establish an aid fund to help them through the winter months”. McConalogue concluded.
Speaking during the debate, Deputy Eamon Scanlon said that he was in contact with a person who has hauled hay and straw in the South for 30 years and he was informed that one bale costs €40 at present.