15 Aug 2022

“This weather is hard on man and beast”

Longford IFA chief, Séan Conefrey says under pressure farmers will weather this storm

Longford Farming

Séan Conefrey says there is a fodder shortage and dairy farmers need their mil collected

“This weather is hard on man and beast”.

These were the sentiments uttered by Longford’s IFA chairman, Séan Conefrey today as farmers across the county begin counting the financial and physical cost of the adverse weather over the past few days.   

And, despite the emergence of a thaw in north Longford over the last few hours, which will help local farmers, Met Eireann has warned that freezing temperatures will continue tonight.  

Fodder shortages and the accumulation of milk on dairy farms because there has been no transport operating for the last three or four days is leading to pressure on many farms across the county, however the local IFA chief says they are matters that can be addressed and in many cases “sorted out” over the coming days.  

“There has been a fodder shortage in north Longford for a while now; farmers on the higher grounds are in difficulty and cattle had to be housed a lot earlier this year,” added Mr Conefrey.

“Many farmers were hoping for some opportunities in early spring, and while it’s not too late yet for that, this weather front of the past few days will certainly put any of those hopes back by at least a couple of weeks.”

Meanwhile, milk has has to be disposed of on some farms, while others have the facilities to store the liquid until collection starts again.  

Lakeland Dairies was expected in north Longford today, however the latest reports suggest that tankers have been unable to reach the area due to very poor road conditions.

“I have had numerous calls from farmers over the last few days wondering about fodder,” Mr Conefrey added, before pointing to the fact that many farmers in north Longford availed of fodder that was delivered to them from Co Carlow over the past couple of months.

“We all know that the fodder scheme implemented by the Government brings with it, its own set of problems, but nonetheless some fodder has reached north Longford and we are all grateful for that.

“But there certainly is a shortage now because no feed has been delivered for the past few days.”

But despite the adverse weather since last Wednesday, there is some stock out on land and that includes sheep who have been lambing for the past few weeks.

Some lambs have been lost, says Mr Conefrey, and that has been as a direct result of the weather.

“The stock that is out is very dependent on fodder and lambs have been lost over the past few days because of snow and very cold temperatures,” the local IFA man continued.

“For dairy farmers milk collection has been an issue as has access to farm yards.

“There has been no milk collection since last Tuesday, so some farmers, depending on their level of storage, will probably find themselves having to let some of their milk go; there were milk collections two days a week up to now, so to be honest it won’t take farmers long to get back on track with milk once collection starts up again.”

Mr Conefrey says this time of year is always a busy time for farmers because of cows calving and sheep lambing, so the adverse weather is putting additional pressure on the system.  

“This weather is hard on man and beast, but farmers will weather this storm,” Mr Conefrey concluded.

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