Local Fianna Fáil TD, Michael Moynihan has said that he is not confident that there is enough fodder in the country to meet the demands of the national dairy herd.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting after receiving an update from the Department of Agriculture which confirms that the national herd has increased by 33% since 2010.
At the end of 2017, we had 1.34 million dairy cows compared to just over 1 million in 2010. That’s a very significant rise in just seven years.
A growing herd is fine so long as there is enough fodder to keep them fed during winter and during periods of time where grass is not available.
The crises during Spring time and the current weather spell all serve to demonstrate the fact that we are only ever a couple of bad weeks away from running out of fodder for our dairy herd, and other animals.
“The Irish dairy industry exported products to nearly 14o countries last year with a cumulative value of €4.6 billion. It’s an essential component of the rural Irish economy.
“Every threat to its sustainability must be dealt with. There is no greater risk to the dairy industry in Ireland right now than the ongoing fodder crisis.
“The Department of Agriculture must start work immediately to ascertain the current fodder stocks across the country and the expected volume of fodder needed to maintain the national herd if the good weather continues. Equally, we need to start looking at how we will replenish fodder supplies in the run up to winter.
“We are already hearing of farmers being forced to cull animals as they simply do not have the fodder to keep their herds. It’s imperative that the Government stop sitting on their hands and act,” concluded Moynihan.