Teagasc today, February 4th, published the results of their fodder survey for January 2019 and it found that almost three-quarters of farmers (73%) have sufficient feed to meet their livestock requirements until the end of the housing period.
In contrast, one in four farmers reported having a fodder deficit. One in eight farms (12%) reported having a feed deficit of up to 10%, with one in six (15%) reporting a deficit in excess of 10%!
According to Teagasc, a 10% deficit equates to two-weeks feeding over a 5-month winter period. The survey found that the average fodder requirement 51T DM on farms with 69T DM of fodder in stock. The report found that most areas will have sufficient fodder to meet requirements until the planned turnout date.
Commenting on the results, Teagasc Ruminant Nutrition specialist, Brian Garry said the results show that the effects of last summer’s drought can still be felt this year.
“while on average farmers have reported having enough fodder on hands; one in four farmers reported a fodder deficit, with over half of these reporting a deficit of greater than 10%.” He said.
“So the effects of last summer’s drought could still be felt this spring. This situation could be exacerbated if we get a late spring, resulting in a later turnout than planned on the farms completing this survey.” Brian added.
The Teagasc ruminant specialist reminded farmers of the importance of rechecking fodder supplies and to make arrangements to source sufficient supplies, should weather turn poor at turnout.
Teagasc also issued a number of key management practises that farmers should include:
- Return stock to grazing as soon as conditions allow – on-farm measurements indicate that there is more grass on farms this spring than in previous years.
- Sell animals as they become fit for sale/slaughter.
- Avoid panic buying- purchase feed in advance if possible.
- Ensure finance is available to purchase additional feed if required.