Lakeland Dairies urge farmers to immediately review forage requirements

Deficits of 10% -50% in requirements noted among farms in some counties including West Cavan, Leitrim, North Monaghan, Fermanagh and West Tyrone

Farming reporter

Reporter:

Farming reporter

Farmers in south of the county worst hit

Farmers are facing severe fodder shortages.

Lakeland Dairies has urged farmer to immediately review their forage requirements for the winter in the face of severe fodder shortages, espeically in counties Leitrim, Monaghan, Cavan, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Alan Hurst, Technical Manager, Lakeland Agri said, “Cows are now housed on the majority of farms. The extended period of poor weather in recent months has restricted farmers in silage making to the extent that we have identified possible forage deficits on some dairy farms across a number of counties.”

“Our Agri and Dairy Development staff have been very active over the past 6 weeks estimating silage stocks at farm level, generating feed budgets and providing solutions for farmers to overcome possible forage shortages in the winter feeding period ahead. While the reasonable spell of weather over the last two weeks has allowed some activity in fields, for some farms, it has come too late to allow any extra fodder be made.

“To date, the areas that we have identified as the worst affected include West Cavan, Leitrim, North Monaghan, Fermanagh and West Tyrone, with deficits ranging from 10% to 50% of requirements.”

Where deficits exist, the advice from Lakeland Dairies is as follows:

·         Evaluate all livestock on the farm. Sell off all surplus stock including empty cows and empty heifers.

·         Assess the value of alternative forages / feeds and source your requirements now.

·         Start including alternative forages and feeds into the diets now to help stretch valuable silage reserves    

“Lakeland Dairies can help carry out the necessary calculations on an individual farm basis and provide guidance and assistance to any farmers facing forage deficits. It is essential to analyse forage conditions on the farm and to implement a plan to avoid any problems in the months ahead,” said Alan Hurst.

Hurst advised Lakeland milk suppliers and all customers to arrange a farm visit by calling 1890 47 47 20.  The co-operative will also be sending a ready reckoner table to all its milk suppliers and customers to help them in calculating their requirements.