Republic of Ireland news

Farming crisis: Republic to import fodder for first time in four years

Farm workers collecting silage near Ballycastle, Co Antrim. The Republic is to import fodder from the UK for the first time in four years

THE Irish government is planning to import fodder for the first time in four years amid a crisis caused by the long and cold winter.

Agriculture minister Michael Creed said yesterday his officials are developing an importation scheme to make-up the shortfall in available fodder.

The announcement came after the minister met farm advisory body Teagasc and co-operatives in Fermoy in Co Cork.

The Dairygold co-op has already announced it has sourced two and a half thousand tonnes of haylage and hay from the UK and that shipments will start arriving from today.

Dairygold called on the Government to help with transportation expenses.

When fodder was last imported in 2014 around 140,000 tonnes was needed to address shortages.

The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has said it will support farmers through the crisis.

ICOS president Martin Keane said executives from several co-operatives across the Republic are trying to source fodder.

He called on the government to extend transport subsidies to cover imported fodder.

"Finance is a big issue, but as one farmer recently told me, he said, 'I'd much prefer to be short of money than short of fodder'," he said.

"And, I suppose, that demonstrates the stress that's out there in the farming community that they would cope better with being short of funds, rather than short of fodder. That's the magnitude of what a fodder crisis is."

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