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Teagasc Fodder for North Cork Farmers

One hundred bales of good quality silage are being made available from Teagasc to Boherbue Co-op in North Cork for distribution to farmers short of fodder in that region which is particularly badly affected by the fodder shortage.

The bales were produced on the Curtins research farm, part of the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Moorepark, Fermoy and are now surplus given the improvement in grass growth at the centre in the last week.

Teagasc Dairy Business and Technology adviser, Noreen O Rahilly, based in Kanturk, said: “Farmers in this region have been particularly badly affected because of high rainfall in this region in 2012/2013, poor grazing conditions and high usage of any fodder saved last summer in 2012 and 2013 due to the weather. This has left farmers here in difficulty due to the late spring. Grass growth in the last two weeks has been very slow to pick up on the heavier type soils in this region.”

Tom O Dwyer, Teagasc Head of Dairy KT said: “In the drier farms, grass growth has shown a big improvement this week with growth rates of over 50 kg DM per hectare recorded. However grass growth is slower on the heavier soils, such as those in the Boherbue Co-op area of North Cork. On these farms, supplementation will be required for another week to ten days until grass growth picks up.”

Since early March all Teagasc offices and advisers have been available to farmers for free advice on coping with the fodder crisis. This will continue through the crisis. In addition dedicated phone lines to help link up farmers who have feed for sale with those that require it has been set up

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced an emergency telephone number for farmers who cannot feed their livestock.

The low cost number was already in use to access the Department's animal welfare fund but the decision has now been taken to publicise it more widely.

The lo-call number is 1850 21 19 90 and will be monitored until midnight, seven days a week for the duration of the crisis.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said he has increased the number of operators who will staff the line to ensure that immediate help is available to any farmer with animals in dire need.