Efforts to import hay must be redoubled – Naughten

In Agriculture by Denis Naughten

Present demand far outstripping supply

Local TD Denis Naughten has called on the Minister for Agriculture, in conjunction with the Co-ops, to redouble efforts to bring urgently needed hay into the country not only to deal with the immediate shortage but also to make provision for continuing poor weather over the summer months.

“While fodder is being drip fed into the west of Ireland, and efforts to date are to be commended, the reality is that much more fodder is needed to meet the current requirements for stock and to also provide a back-up supply  in case we have a repeat of weather conditions of last summer,” stated Denis Naughten.

“Presently there is no carryover of fodder which normally acts as a safety net if weather conditions deteriorate during the summer months and with spare fodder available this must be purchased and imported now before being released through co-ops as required in the coming weeks and months.

“Already we seem to be facing into such a prospect, with water back up on the Shannon Callows, which means that it is now more than likely that the winter 2013/14 crop of hay in that area will also be lost.

“While hay is coming into the region, it is still not coming in fast enough and disappointingly plans to ship hay directly from France to Galway Port have come up against handling issues at French ports.

“There is no doubt that haulage of fodder by road is limiting the amount that can be imported, but it is vital for animal welfare reasons that every effort is made in the coming days to get fodder into Ireland quickly and in large volumes,” concluded Denis Naughten