The first consignment of hay from Holland containing over 500 tonnes arrived into Dublin port last week on special containers, with another 500 tonnes of French hay arriving in Rosslare by truck over the weekend. The hay will be distributed today to farmers through co-ops, marts and merchants in counties still under extreme pressure from the fodder crisis.
IFA expects the remainder of the 1,500 tonnes of Dutch hay and the balance of a 3,000 tonne order from France to be shipped this week. He said some parts of the country are still short of grass and farmers will need fodder for a number of weeks yet and he encouraged co-ops to keep up their good work in sourcing fodder from the UK and elsewhere. He again called on the Minister to extend the Fodder Subsidy for a further two weeks to ensure that the more peripheral parts of Ireland are looked after.
Mr Bryan said the focus must now switch to a strategy that ensures there is sufficient fodder for next winter and he called for a co-ordinated and proactive effort involving Teagasc, co-ops, merchants and farmers themselves. He encouraged them to now concentrate their efforts on ensuring that farmers maximise their production of grass for the remainder of the summer and into the autumn.
John Bryan said that Teagasc’s assessment of the potential shortfall in next winter’s fodder supply of 30% must be a call to action for the Minister and the Government. He again called on them to provide a €50m recovery package to include a fertilizer subsidy and subsidised loans for farmers who inevitably will need to borrow to keep their business going.
John Bryan paid tribute to the commitment and resilience of farm families in every part of the country who have had to make huge personal and financial sacrifices to care for their stock. He said the efforts of the co-ops, marts and merchants and IFA’s voluntary officers and staff who have been working around the clock was appreciated by farmers. Thousands of tonnes of domestically sourced fodder moved from county to county and from east to west and co-ops, marts and merchants have brought in approximately 12,000 tonnes of forage through the IFA established sourcing system in the UK.
The IFA President again thanked the support of FBD, IFAC Accountants, The Farmers Journal, IFFPG and Origin Enterprises for their valuable support in putting together a €1m fodder fund. This has been substantially added to with the generous support of €250,000 from Supervalu and others including the Independent Group and Roadstone.
These resources are being used to assist with transport costs and ensure that the fodder delivered to farmers across the country is below the original purchase price off farms in Holland and France.