Speaking at the Executive Council meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, IFA President John Bryan said an urgent, co-ordinated response is needed to overcome unprecedented problems with fodder shortages and a lack of cashflow on farms.
John Bryan called on co-ops, feed mills and banks to continue to support their farmer customers and do everything to ensure adequate feed and cashflow is provided, to assist farmers cope with winter fodder and cashflow difficulties arising as a result of the late Spring and months of poor weather since last summer.
He said, “Commodity prices in dairy, beef and lamb are looking strong for the year and farmers will settle their bills when their cashflow situation improves. Until the weather picks up, the wider agri-business community must support farm businesses through what is a very difficult time on farms.”
The IFA President said, “Farmers should take stock of what fodder they have at this stage, and if they have some surplus, they should make it available to their fellow farmers who are in short supply. Solidarity and co-operation will be needed to get us over the next few weeks until there is grass growth and the pressure eases”. John Bryan urged farmers to look at all options for the extra feed they need, including compound feeds, which can provide a better value alternative.
IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey, who heads up the IFA Project Team on fodder, said he has been in contact with Teagasc and IFA officers around the country on the matter. “The clear advice is to get some stock out as soon as ground conditions allow, and supplement them with concentrates at grass. Fertiliser should be spread as soon as machinery can travel. The sowing of crops has been held up, resulting in a major back-up of work on tillage farms.”
He urged farmers who are under pressure to contact their Teagasc adviser, their local IFA officer or a neighbour to discuss their difficulties. “There is assistance available to farmers who need help, and nobody should be afraid to seek out support.”