IFA grain chairman, Mark Browne, said that Irish tillage farmers are furious about the continued failure of many animal feed merchants to use local barley.
He cited Eurostat figures, showing Ireland imported 157,000 tonnes of non-EU maize in January alone, with Canada, Ukraine, and Russia as the main sources.
He said that if even a fraction of these imports was reduced in favour of native Irish barley, it would alleviate the immediate problem.
“Many growers are left with stores full of barley, due to the importation of feed ingredients,” said Mr Browne. “It is inexcusable that merchants would ship feed ingredients halfway around the world and not buy Irish grain, which is on their own doorstep.
He said it is now time to examine the specifics of Irish sustainability schemes, like Origin Green, which promote the importance of local, sustainable sourcing; reduce the carbon footprint; and serve local communities.
He questioned if shunning Irish barley, in favour of importing maize, produced to lower environmental standards, over vast distances, was compatible with the sustainability principles of the programme.