Fodder crisis looming in Carlow
Farmers in Carlow are worried about fodder supplies for next winter as they face an 'unprecedented' lack of feed for their animals.
The Irish Farmers' Association representative for Carlow, George Collier, said: "We got the bit of rain now but it's the fodder for next winter we're worried about. It's unprecedented."
His comments come after figures earlier this week revealed that just over 20% of those from the Leinster area have sufficient fodder reserves in place for the coming winter, which was lower than the national figure of 25%.
"Draw a line from Dublin to Galway, everything south of that is in bother. Carlow, Wexford and Kilkenny are particularly bad over the lack of fodder for next winter," Mr Collier added.
A number of measures have been announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to help farmers overcome the difficulties that have arisen as a result of the drought.
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, this week confirmed higher advance payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) – as well as the availability of certain flexibilities in GLAS.
Minister Creed said: “I am delighted to be able to announce these measures to assist farmers who have encountered difficulties as a result of the weather conditions.
"I welcome Commissioner Hogan’s flexibility and the potential benefits under the measures, with regards to increasing fodder supplies and in supporting the welfare of livestock."
Commissioner Hogan has confirmed that he intends to propose to the commission to grant a derogation to pay up to 70% of advances for direct payments and up to 85% for rural development measures, including GLAS.
This measure will provide assistance to Irish farmers in terms of improved cash flow to the value of €260 million.
A number of measures have also been agreed with regards to the minister’s proposals to reduce the shortage of fodder for the coming winter.
Within the boundaries of the existing GLAS specifications, a second cut for either hay or silage is possible on parcels covered by the GLAS Traditional Hay Meadow action.
Meanwhile, the minister has raised the option of granting a derogation for farmers with the Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) GLAS measure.
Consultation is ongoing with the commission with regards to what flexibility can be allowed to conserve the crops for hay or silage – whilst allowing farmers to retain payment.
As well as this, a measure was also confirmed for farmers who are growing catch crops to fulfil obligations under the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) element of the Greening Scheme.