Twenty percent of Irish farmers are still facing difficulties caused by animal feed shortages. With winter feed supplies totally depleted and no new grass growth yet, farmers have been totally dependent on compound feed mills to supply feed for their livestock.
The first six months of 2013 has seen an unprecedented deficit in the availability of animal feed in the country, with fodder needing to be imported from Europe. Continuous low temperatures, especially in March which was one of the coldest on record, have added to the crisis.
Having to buy compound feed has put a huge burden financially on farmers at a time of year when money is scarce.
Larry O'Loughlin, a regional manager of the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc), said "The key message is that farmers, who are having problems with fodder, or even farmers who are on the periphary with just about enough fodder to get them by over the winter, should be making plans now."
"There are two issues involved, one is planning for your fodder situation for next winter and secondly is to do some kind of cash-flow budget with your finances," he continued.
Feed mills are currently delivering feed rations 24/7 to farmers and their livestock. Approximately 3.5 million tonnes of compound feed are produced in Ireland in a typical year. Over 100 establishments are licensed to produce compound feed.