The North Cork co-op is to sell the hay at cost to its members. The large 800kg bales provide the equivalent of a day’s high-fibre feed supplement for 130 cows, while 640kg bales provide enough high-fibre content to feed 100 cows a day.
Demand was strong and, with limited supply, farmers bought one or two bales at a time, depending on need. The first delivery arrived in Mitchelstown on Saturday, with other deliveries to follow. Dairygold agri-trading general manager Séan O’Sullivan said: “With the fodder shortage, Dairygold went in search of hay supply in the UK and while stocks are also tight in the UK, we found some available hay in the south-east and identified straw supply if further supply is needed.”
During the past month, Dairygold has extended credit on feed and fertiliser sales and formulated for sale a compound feed — forage extender, with high fibre content.
Farmers volunteered to help unload the hay from the British trucks. They turned up at each co-op with tractors and loaders to unload lorries and re-load trailers for fellow farmers. The initiative also fostered engagement across the region, with farmers with sufficient hay or straw offering supply for sale and in some cases providing supply to neighbours free of charge to help them to keep cattle fed until grass growth gets under way.
North-West Cork Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan said: “This is a welcome initiative from Dairygold. Other farmer bodies and co-ops will have to follow this example in the coming days.
“This initiative shows how serious the situation has become. Many of Dairygold’s members are on good soil, so this hay will be distributed to farmers on good land. Similar initiatives will have to follow for farmers in other areas.”