Fodder scheme extended for two weeks

The imported fodder transport scheme has been extended for another two weeks and the fund doubled to €2m.

The scheme, facilitated by the Department of Agriculture, will subsidise, up to May 24, any fodder which is eligible under the scheme and delivered in the next two weeks.

The decision follows a consultation with Met Éireann, the co-ops, the main farming organisations, and Teagasc.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: “This decision was taken after consultation with those working on the ground and we will continue to monitor the situation on a day-by-day basis. I understand that this remains a very challenging situation for farmers and this extension will allow both farmers and co-ops to have some certainly around supply of fodder over the coming weeks.”

The department has had to intervene in about 60 cases.

Interventions have been made on a confidential basis through local veterinary offices.

Mr Coveney said: “No animal should starve as a result of a lack of fodder. We will intervene to ensure that animals do not starve and we will pay for the feed required. Farmers should feel comfortable contacting us. We referred the other 300-plus cases to co-ops which are importing and providing feed.”

The IFA, part-funded by Glanbia and a number of other agri food partners, this week received its first consignments of hay from France.

Further supplies will arrive in the coming days with co-ops, marts, and merchants booking over 3,500 tonnes. This follows a series of fodder imports initiated by the main co-ops. Dairygold has imported around 20 truckloads a day for the past fortnight. By last weekend, Dairygold had imported 250 loads. That figure will exceed 350 during this weekend.

Kerry Co-op has brought in about 150 loads. Glanbia and Kerry are offering rebates of €25 and €20 respectively on compound feeds purchased by their members during the crisis, along with zero interest on loan facilities. Most of the co-ops are offering similar facilities.

- Keenan’s helpline, 8am to 8pm: 059 9101324. Animal Welfare Hotline: 1850 211990.

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