Updated: 05/04/18 : 06:30:01
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Emergency imported fodder starts arriving today

The first delivery of imported animal feed in response to the deepening fodder crisis is due to roll off a ferry in Rosslare this morning.

The feed, which has been imported from Britain, will then be distributed by Dairygold Co-Op to ten locations around Munster.

RTÉ
reports that further significant imports are scheduled for the coming days, with Glanbia and Lakeland Dairies saying that they have also sourced animal feed abroad for their members.

The Dairygold Co-Op executives who sourced and organised the first 2,500 tonnes of animal feed in response to the deepening weather-related shortage are attempting to locate even more supplies to distribute to their farmer members.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has asked his officials to develop a scheme to support the importation of fodder by the co-ops and other entities in response to the shortage.

He said yesterday that there is no simple solution to the crisis and that it would require a collaborative effort by all stakeholders to ensure an adequate supply of animal feed.

The last time a fodder importation scheme was required was in 2013.

On that occasion a total of 140,000 tonnes of imported supplies were required to meet the shortage in supply.

Glanbia, the country's largest dairy processor, has said it will make a support payment of €50 per tonne on all ruminant feed purchased by its co-op members during the month of April.

Glanbia has also arranged for the import of 1,000 tonnes of alfalfa from Spain, which will land in Dublin this weekend for distribution to Glanbia branches by early next week.

Lakeland Dairies announced yesterday that it too has established a number of immediate fodder supply channels from the UK and that it will buy any surpluses from farmers here for redistribution.

The Irish Co-operative Society said that the weather over the next seven to ten days will be critical.

If the weather does improve, grass growth will resume and the situation will be largely resolved. However, it warned that the situation will become very serious if the weather does not improve.