Farmers are set to benefit from a new silage support scheme that is
being brought to the Cabinet for approval by Minister for Agriculture
Charlie McConalogue later today.
Under the proposed scheme, farmers will be entitled to a payment of
€100 per hectare of silage they cut, up to a maximum of 10 hectares.
The scheme, worth up to €55m, is to encourage farmers to store sufficient fodder for animals next winter.
With ongoing prices increases in feed, fuel, fertiliser, and other
agriculture inputs, beef and sheep farmers have been demanding help from
the Government, with many saying the viability of their enterprises are
A recent Teagasc analysis of Irish farming found that beef and sheep
sectors are facing severe losses due to production costs, with family
farms suffering income declines between 13% and 25% in 2022.
The Teagasc report, which was published last month, found production
costs on cattle farms are 24% to 30% up compared to 2021, with cattle
prices expected to rise 12-16%.
It said sheep meat prices are forecast to rise 10% but production costs of 30% are expected.
This year, the Minister for Agriculture has already announced €20m in
supports for pig farmers, €12m to encourage farmers to till extra land
and €3m to support the horticulture sector.
Irish Farmers’ Association President Tim Cullinan said it was
important that Minister McConalogue had come forward with the scheme,
but more will be needed to cover the “sky rocketing” increase in costs
“Sky rocketing input costs are putting huge pressure on farmers and
we are already behind time in encouraging farmers to maximise grass
growth,” he said.
Mr Cullinan added: “There are real food security concerns emerging
from global agencies and it’s important that Irish farmers are helped
and supported to produce food.”
Jarlath Walsh, a dairy
farmer from Knock and chair of the Mayo branch of the Irish Farmers’
Association, has welcomed the proposed silage package.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “Time is of the essence.
Farmers need to know now if they’re going to invest the huge amount of
money that is being asked of them in fertiliser in order to grow the
silage for the winter.”
Mr Walsh said May is the main grass growing month and if farmers “are
being asked to pay over three times the amount for fertiliser, there
will be a break in the supply and the food supply, which can’t be
rectified later on and farmers need to know now whether to invest this
money in order to get the return later on.”
He said fuel price increases are having an effect as costs rise.
He said the earlier €12m investment in tillage is only for that
sector and it was announced a bit late, so this announcement is needed
“It’s the 11th hour to get grass growing and we need the minister to
announce this scheme straight away so that farmers will take up this
scheme further for the remainder of the grass growing season”, he said.