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Details of Fodder Transport Support Measure revealed

Details of Fodder Transport Support Measure revealed

As part of the meeting of the National Fodder and Feed Security Committee, today, April 9, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D, revealed details of a measure to support the transport of fodder to areas where supplies are running tight.

Following a “really challenging time” and “unpredicted wet weather since last September”, Minister McConalogue detailed the supports being implemented by his department to aid farmers. Such measures include the pausing of all non-essential inspections, with the exception of those specifically required to support payments, and a request for Teagasc to establish a fodder register to connect farmers with fodder available to those seeking supplies.

Another measure introduced – the Fodder Transport Support Measure – will support the transport of forage from areas of the country where supplies are available to areas requiring fodder, to address regional imbalances in feed supplies following a wet spring.

Launching the measure today, the Minister acknowledged that a key issue to resolve was the cost of transporting fodder between those areas where it was plentiful and those where it was scarce.

“Teagasc analysis has shown that fodder remains available across the country, but I am conscious of the significant additional cost to farmers where fodder has to be transported over significant distance to areas where it is most needed,” he said.

He added: “As fodder is traded between farms on a regular basis, it is essential that the support measure being announced today is targeted at those who most need it and does not impact on the normal functioning of the market for fodder. I am grateful that the co-op structure is supporting the practical implementation of this measure.”

Highlighting how the scheme will work, Minister McConalogue said that it will be operated in conjunction with co-ops and will support the transport of fodder over distances of more than 75km. Supports will be available for feed such as baled and pit silage, hay, haylage, straw and other feedstuffs such as maize and fodder beet.

The scheme will operate in a similar manner to the one established in 2018. However, unlike its predecessor, no fodder budget will be required to be completed by farmers. Aid under the measure will be paid to co-ops at rates of €40/t of grass silage (pit), maize silage (pit) or fodder beet transported, while aid of €30/bale will be available for grass silage. Further details on the payment rates are available in table 1 below.

Table 1: Financial transport contributions available under the measure

Forage materialBale sizeTransport support per bale/tonne (€)
Hay/straw for feeding 4x4 €20
Haylage/silage 4x4 €30
Hay/straw for feeding 8x4x4 €35
Hay/straw for feeding 8x4x3 €30
Haylage/silage 8x4x3 €40
Hay/straw for feeding 6x3x2 €8
Pit silage Per tonne €40
Fodder beet Per tonne €40

Along with announcing the measure, Minister McConalogue confirmed that is acutely aware of the challenges being faced on tillage farms and will continue to monitor the situation.

Weather respite

Also joining the meeting, Paul Moore of Met Eireann’s Climate Service Division reported that rainfall levels, as reported over the hydrological year which runs from October 1st to September 31st, are running ahead in many areas this spring. In Cork, the volume of rain that has fallen so far is similar to those seen up to July usually, while in Dublin airport, rainfall volumes are two months ahead.

Eoin Sherlock, also of Met Eireann, provided a long-term forecast for the weeks ahead, noting that the Atlantic is in command at present. However, he tentatively forecast that high pressure will build from April 17-18, potentially continuing on to early May, providing some respite from the rainfall that has being experienced over recent weeks and months.

View Teagasc’s presentation to today’s meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee here.

Additional details on the Fodder Transport Support Measure are available on the Department’s website.