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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

'Close to a national emergency' - Farmers hit by bad Easter weather call for help

The weather since Christmas has meant poor grass growth and a lack of fodder for animals.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/

FARMERS HAVE CALLED for an emergency response to farm conditions after another weekend of rain.

The Easter weekend saw heavy rain across the country, with more due in the coming days. That means that farmers are behind schedule, IFA President Joe Healy says.

“The situation is close to a national emergency on farms, and we need an emergency response. The Minster has to call together all the stakeholders involved as a matter of urgency.”

“The weather over the Easter weekend has left farmers reeling at a time when they really needed a period of good weather to get things moving.”

The weather since Christmas has meant poor grass growth and a lack of fodder for animals. This means that the animals have had to be kept indoors.

Healy says that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should pull together an emergency response to tackle the fodder and income crises on farms.

“Minister Creed told the Dail last week that fodder was a matter for each individual farmer and that he was monitoring the situation. That response is simply not good enough.

“We cannot rely on the weather picking up to solve the problem. We need to stop the megaphone diplomacy and sit down now to have constructive engagement to see what can be done.”

Meanwhile, Teagasc has set up a Forage Register to help farmers who have run out of silage and other fodder to source supplies from those with a surplus. Farmers who have silage they can sell can ring their Teagasc office to get it listed on the register. The body will then put struggling farmers in contact with those who have a surplus.

Dr Siobhan Kavanagh, Teagasc regional advisory manager for Carlow, Wicklow and Wexford, said:

“Grass growth this spring has been less than 50% of normal. Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied immediately to ensure maximum grass growth once temperatures begin to rise towards normal levels.”

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