Farmers have welcomed Agriculture Minster Michael Creed’s fodder transport scheme for livestock farmers in the west and northwest, writes .
Speaking at a climate change conference hosted by ICOS, Mr Creed pledged aid of €12 per bale of hay and silage and €8 for straw to farmers worst hit by wet weather last autumn.
Farmers will pay the cost of the fodder in the normal way.
The aid doesn’t cover local fodder; minimum transport distance is 100 km.
“Fodder remains available across the country but I am conscious of the cost to farmers where fodder has to be transported over significant distance to areas where it is most needed,” said Mr Creed.
IFA president Joe Healy said the scheme should have the minimum of bureaucracy. He urged the department to revisit the 100km rule, describing it as impractical. IFA has argued a meal voucher system would have been a more efficient aid.
ICMSA president Pat McCormack described the measure as timely, but said the 100km rule seemed arbitrary. He said this should adjusted downwards.
Meanwhile, ICOS has produced a report entitled Positive Steps Towards a Low Carbon Future for the Irish Dairy Sector, formally launched by Mr Creed, ICOS president Martin Keane and Prof John Fitzgerald, chair of the climate change advisory committee.
The report recommends the underpinning competitive advantage for dairy farmers of grassland-based dairy farming. It notes that every litre of milk produced in Ireland is the most carbon- efficient litre of milk in Europe.
Ireland’s dairy products and ingredients are sold in over 155 countries worldwide, valued at €4bn. About 81% of all agricultural land is used for grass, producing hay, silage and pasture.
ICOS president Martin Keane said: “
Very significant investments have been made in the future processing capabilities of our industry. Producers have contributed strongly to that including investment and expanded production.
Research suggests dairy expansion for the period 2016 to 2020 will result in a €2.7bn economic impact for rural Ireland.”