A FODDER census survey has shown that farmers have enough silage and hay for a 140 day feeding period this winter. The survey of 1,240 farmers showed that there is an overall average surplus of 8% across the country. The survey was carried out in the week commencing September 1 by Teagasc and other organisations participating in the Inter Agency Fodder Committee.
While overall the survey indicates that there are adequate fodder stocks in the country, it found that one in five farmers had a deficit. On the farms with a deficit, this shortage is 19% on average. The survey showed that 22% of farmers intend to sell some livestock to balance their feed budget this autumn
Chairman of the inter-agency fodder committee, Dr Tom Kelly of Teagasc said that through the commercial market place, farmers are redistributing the fodder to where the livestock are, and redistributing the livestock to where the fodder is. He said that with prudent management of existing fodder stocks along with appropriate supplementation with concentrate feeds farmers are well positioned to come through this winter, pointing out that higher quality silage and hay has been saved compared to last year.
This second fodder census has shown a major improvement in rebuilding fodder stocks. An earlier survey in the first week of July had shown an overall deficit of 12%, with two thirds of farmers facing a deficit. Early in the year, farmers, right around the country, faced fodder shortages due to the poor weather in the autumn of 2012 and the late spring of 2013.