Deering urges Teagasc to hold local briefings on fodder shortage

9th May, 2013

Fine Gael Carlow/Kilkenny TD, Pat Deering, has today (Thursday) urged Teagasc to organise briefing sessions in local livestock marts for farmers being adversely affected by fodder shortages. Deputy Deering added that this would make the necessary information more accessible for farmers who need to get their fodder stocks up to acceptable levels.

 “Thankfully, the worst of the fodder crisis appears to be over, due to slight improvements in the weather and the alleviation measures put in place by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, and the various farming bodies. However, farmers are still going through considerable difficulties, and it is essential that we now start planning for the future.

 “The fodder situation was the subject of this week’s Private Members Business in the Dáil, which I contributed to. It was also discussed in detail at the Internal Fine Gael Agriculture Committee, which met with the Director of Teagasc, Prof Gerry Boyle. I am urging Teagasc advisers on the ground to set up briefing sessions in local livestock marts. At the moment, farmers must go to the organisation to access information. By conducting briefings in marts, we could ensure the information is getting directly to those who really need it. Prof Boyle was amenable to this idea, and I hope it can be progressed further.

 “Last week, Minister Coveney extended the imported fodder transport scheme, which has been helping to get fodder to farms. The Minister has been monitoring the situation on a daily basis, and has been engaging with the banks and the Co-ops to ensure adequate credit facilities are being made available to farmers. While fodder shortages are now abating, I believe farmers should be planning ahead for next winter. All reserves have been used up, so it is important to replenish stocks now where possible, to avoid an even more serious situation later in the year.

 “I would like to complement the Dairy Co-ops, which are offering interest-free credit for fertilizer purchased during the month of May. Farmers should not be tempted to skimp on fertiliser, as grass is the cheapest foodstuff available.

 “The co-ordinated approach taken by the Minister and the farming bodies in dealing with this problem deserves to be commended. We now need to consider the next steps needed to mitigate further challenges in the months ahead.”