Macra na Feirme is calling on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to push the deadline for cutting silage or hay under the Fodder Support Scheme back to at least the end of September.

Farmers must preserve fodder by 5 September to be eligible for payment under the beef and sheep farmer scheme and those who cut less than they applied for may face payment clawbacks if they fail to notify the Department of Agriculture before 27 August.

Macra’s national president John Keane said that this must change, as many applicants were unable to make fodder as a result of drought-like conditions hampering summer grass growth and leaving many having to graze ground closed up for silage.

Flexibility needed

“Flexibility is needed around this. Many farmers on all soil types across the country have soil moisture deficits on farm and have found it difficult to secure enough winter feed ahead of the closing date of 5 September,” Keane commented.

“An extension is needed until the last week of September to allow farmers who have applied for the scheme to cut and conserve winter feed.

“Growth rates across the country have been below average for a number of weeks now and it makes sense to extend the closing date to help farmers dealing with the increasing costs of conserving winter feed."

Farmers can still make a late application for funding under the Fodder Support Scheme up to 27 August, although these late applications will be penalised at a rate of 1% per day from the date of 2 August.

Read more

Almost 70,000 drystock farmers apply for Fodder Support Scheme