Silage Shock: First-cut yields plummet by 15% on average in 2023, says FCI

"Survey Reveals Significant Drop in First-Cut Silage Harvest in Ireland, Raising Concerns for Fodder and Food Security"

Contractors across Ireland have reported a 15% decrease in the amount of first-cut silage harvested this year compared to 2022, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI). The survey, which involved 350 FCI members, was presented to the National Fodder and Food Security Committee (NFFSC) on Wednesday, July 19th. The FCI contractors, who cover approximately 35,000 hectares, accounting for 10% of the total silage area in the country, highlighted significant variations in first-cut silage harvests depending on location. While some areas experienced a 10% increase, others reported a decrease of up to 66%. Michael Moroney, national chair of the FCI, attributed the decline in certain western areas to adverse weather conditions. He also noted a decline in stock numbers on drystock farms in the west, which resulted in lower demand for silage. This was reflected in the reduced spreading of cattle slurry in the spring. The FCI survey also revealed a decrease in fertilizer usage on these farms, with some transitioning to organic production. In intensive dairy farming areas, particularly in the south and southeast, FCI members reported minimal carryover of silage from 2022, resulting in a deficit of approximately 20% compared to the previous year. The issue of lower stocking rates in the west of the country will be further discussed by the NFFSC in September. Contractors have also reported that second cuts are progressing well following recent rainfall.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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