An action plan to improve fodder supply for the livestock industry over the next 12 months has been published by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill. This follows a year of poor weather conditions which have damaged grasslands across the island of Ireland.
The plan has been drawn up by a task force which includes the farming unions, food processors, banks, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Farmers can do a lot now to lessen any knock-on effects of what has been an extraordinary growing season,” O’Neill remarked, adding that the winter period can be “a very worrying time” for farmers. She encouraged livestock farmers to take up the advice being made available in management notes and bulletins in the press and on the DARD website (www.dardni.gov.uk).
DARD will publish price comparisons for feedstuffs and fodder on a regular basis. Farmers are also encouraged to consider co-operating with each other when buying feed to benefit from economies of scale.
Feed company representatives and vets will be trained to recognise signs of stress among farmers and to suggest support services for them. Banks will offer cash flow projections to farming customers. Farmers are also encouraged to consider contacting the independent Money Advice Service: 0300 500 5000.