AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill today encouraged farmers to effectively manage winter fodder stocks and to make preparations for the spring turnout.
The Minister was speaking as she visited the dairy farm of Seamus Anderson in Pomeroy to see how he was planning for the months ahead. She said: “It is very encouraging to see how Seamus is managing his winter feeding regime. He worked closely with his CAFRE advisor to complete a feed budget to ensure that he has adequate forage stocks and was well prepared going into the winter period. As the winter progresses Seamus is continually assessing his fodder stocks and reviewing usage to help optimise feed efficiency.”
Further, she stressed the importance of forward planning to farm business management and said: “ Last summer the Fodder Taskforce brought representatives together to assess the fodder situation and to put in place measures which would help farmers plan for this winter. A comprehensive programme of support and advice by CAFRE and AFBI, along with the improvement in weather ensured that our livestock farmers were in a stronger position to face the winter.
“We are now halfway through the winter months and farmers need to constantly assess their own fodder stocks and review their feed management plan. Some may need to buy in additional fodder, increase meal feeding or to reduce stock levels and these decisions need to be taken as early as possible to help avoid the difficulties encountered in 2013. Hopefully we will not have a repeat of last year’s late spring, but we need to be prepared in the event that the turnout is delayed again with the resulting extra pressure on fodder stocks.”
Advice and assistance for farmers is available by contacting their local CAFRE advisors or attending local CAFRE training events. Information is also available via DARD on-line services.