Farmers to be given €1,000 to grow silage to combat grain shortage

The cost of silage is expected to rise by up to 30 per cent this year
Farmers to be given €1,000 to grow silage to combat grain shortage

Kenneth Fox

Farmers are to be given up to €1,000 each to help them grow silage as part of a €55 million scheme to offset the grain shortage caused by the war in Ukraine.

The Cabinet is set to approve a major new scheme for farmers to grow silage, with the cost of silage likely to rise by up to 30 per cent this year because of the war and the wider cost-of-living crisis, leading farming groups to demand urgent action.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will bring a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday where he will outline plans for a €55 million package to support farmers to grow crops to ensure sufficient feed for cattle this winter.

According to the memorandum, the package being developed will reward farmers with a €100/hectare payment for all silage cut up to 10 hectares.

This means farmers will be eligible to receive up to €1,000 each, with the payment to be made later in the year. While a budget is not yet finalised, it is understood that up to €55 million could be earmarked for it.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has said a silage and hay subsidy must be introduced to offset the massive increase in fertiliser, plastic and diesel prices this year. A payment of at least €5 a bale will be required for farmers, the body said.

It is demanding that Mr McConalogue push for support as a matter of urgency.

It is estimated that the cost of making baled silage this summer will increase by close to 30 per cent, and INFHA president Vincent Roddy estimated that the price could hit €30 a bale this year.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has welcomed the support but said more will be needed.

“Skyrocketing input costs are putting huge pressure on farmers and we are already behind time in encouraging farmers to maximise grass growth,” IFA President Tim Cullinan said.

“The Minister must move quickly to announce the details and get the scheme up and running. The way input costs are going, more support will be needed. There are real food security concerns emerging from global agencies and it’s important that Irish farmers are helped and supported to produce food."

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