Fodder advice for farmers

Date published: 05 April 2018

It is now the first week of April and there is increased fodder pressure with prices beginning to increase having slipped back in February. Fodder is available as evidenced by the number of advertisements in national and local papers with importation from England through merchants.

The majority of farmers have been aware of the issues and took action early and have monitored the situation as they have gone along and essential to do so over the next number of weeks

The feed compounders report an increase in tonnage moved onto farm as farmers increase feeding levels to replace/save fodder and they also have available fodder replacement rations

There has been limited grass growth due to low temperatures with frost most evenings and this is really delaying the turnout of stock and spring grass particularly for ewes and lambs. The forecast does show an improvement in temperatures and should allow grass growth to commence where fertiliser has been applied

Farmers need to take care with silage quality as it is likely some very poor material may now have to be used, variable fermentation, soil contamination and low feed value particularly are some of the issues and particularly important for productive stock e.g. milking cows - both dairy and sucklers - and ewes rearing lambs. Therefore, always feed the best quality fodder to these livestock and if rationing increase concentrate feed levels to meet the energy and protein requirements.

If feeding is limited or poor quality fodder, it is essential livestock are healthy. If you are concerned about livestock condition or you consider there is an underlying health issue e.g. rapid weight loss, consult with your farm vet immediately. Prevention is always more effective. This has been a very wet winter so issues like liver fluke are much more prevalent. So if action is required, seek veterinary advice as to the correct treatment for the various types and age groups of stock.

Cull unproductive stock e.g. cows not in-calf and sell easily saleable stock to reduce fodder demand.

Continue to use the CAFRE decision support tools for fodder budgeting or if opting for minimal forage or straw based diets requiring increased concentrate levels.


Farmers can contact their local CAFRE Adviser (telephone 0300 200 7843). for advice on how to deal with their own individual situation.


Share this page

Back to top