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Farmers urged to grow more cereals and fertilize for first cut silage

The announcement of a new targeted intervention package for the tillage sector and a multi-species sward initiative, worth over €12 million, was welcomed by the Chair of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee, Mike Magan. The announcement was made by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD yesterday, Tuesday 22 March.

Speaking at the second meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee in Teagasc Moorepark, Mike Magan said; “there is a good weather forecast for the weeks ahead and this committee sends a positive message to the industry to respond and make this initiative a success by making sure there is strong uptake by farmers and the funding is fully availed of.”

Spread Fertilizer now

A priority area of action identified is ensuring adequate fertilizer is spread on grassland for grazing and particularly for first cut silage. Mike Magan said; “for every 1 tonne of grass dry matter not grown, that equates to 4 million tonnes of grass across the country. We need to spread the fertilizer to grow the grass and the next two weeks are the most critical.”

Fertilizer stocks nationally are estimated to be reduced year-to-date versus last year, however a clear message was communicated that there is adequate supplies to meet farmers’ spring requirements. However all farmers are encouraged to review requirements over the next two months and secure fertilizer supply if not already in place.

Director of Teagasc, Professor Frank O’Mara pointed out that fertilizer spread in late March and early April will give a higher response than that spread at other times of the year. He said; “We currently have a busy programme of face-to-face farm walks underway, including Signpost farm walks, Grass10 clover farm walks, beef farm walks and tillage crops walks, giving us a huge amount of contact with farmers. We are using these opportunities to emphasize the importance of putting in place nutrient management plans to set up the farms to grow the grass required for the year."

Teagasc has surveyed tillage, drystock, and dairy farmers on their fertilizer plans for the year ahead. The details are available at www.teagasc.ie/feedsecurity

Pigs and Poultry difficulties

The continuing difficulties being experienced by pig and poultry producers due to higher feeds costs were also discussed. The valuable contribution the sectors make to the national economy were highlighted. Teagasc pig and poultry specialists are continuing to work with individual producers and with the sector at a national level to try and find solutions. A unique plan involving all in the pig supply chain is being formulated.

Over 30 organisations are represented on the National Fodder and Food Security Committee and are working to support the national response to the unfolding feed, fertilizer and energy supply issues.

For more information visit www.teagasc.ie/feedsecurity