Hike in dairy feed demand in Ireland due to grass shortage

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
The continuing dry weather has resulted in poor growing conditions in Ireland, creating significant demand for feed raw materials to compensate for the shortage of grass for grazing livestock.

Farmers are experiencing up to 20% reduction in grass yields in some areas.

The lack of grass has seen many Irish farmers supplement animal rations with concentrates to meet the animals’ nutritional requirements.

Feed mills and co-ops have reported a large increase in demand during what would normally be their quietest period, according to the Irish Farmers’ Journal.

EU agriculture commissioner, Phil Hogan, is meeting with Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Michael Creed, today to discuss ongoing concerns over fodder stocks.

In a statement on July 19, the minister said he has asked the Commission to ensure the earliest approval of advance direct support payments this autumn in order to support farmers cope with the prolonged challenging period.

As additional feed bills continue to rack up around the country, Creed is also reportedly meeting with the main Irish banks to discuss the credit lending to farmers in light of the extra feed bills.

One of the hardest hit farming areas is the south-west of Ireland, a region where dairy production is highly grass-based.

Glanbia deferred payment scheme

Reacting to the plummeting grass growth, co-op, Glanbia, announced mid-July that it was making interest-free extended credit to the tune of €20m available for feed for its drought hit milk suppliers over the next two months.

Those eligible for the deferred payment scheme are Glanbia Co-op members in the Republic of Ireland with a valid milk supply agreement with Glanbia Ireland. However, participation in the scheme is subject to credit assessment and individual limits.

Martin Keane, chairman of Glanbia, said that soil moisture deficits are now over 90 mm in the majority of the Glanbia catchment area, with feed demand currently running at four to five times the rate of grass growth.

The scheme will run through to September 15, covering purchases of all dairy compound feeds and dairy coarse rations including eligible straights and fertilizer products for grassland. Straights that qualify under the scheme include soya hulls, beet pulp, rolled cereals, maize, distillers, gluten, soybean meal and rape meal.

Purchases made under the scheme will be paid for by deduction from the supplier’s milk account in six equal instalments in July, August and September 2019 and 2020 and Glanbia said it will not charge interest on the deferred payments.

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