Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has demanded urgent Government action to deal with the fodder crisis facing farmers across the country.
He also called for the current review of the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme to ensure more targeted aid to those farmers on mountain land and lowlands who face specific difficulties.
The Midlands North West MEP, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, made the remarks at a meeting of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association in Sligo on Friday evening.
“Farmers across the country are facing into a very serious fodder crisis. Excessive rainfall this year has resulted in farmers having to start early feeding of livestock, and they are unable to get a second cut of silage.
“Waterlogged fields have forced many farmers to keep cattle indoors throughout the worst of the summer weather and grass intended for silage could not be cut across much of the North West.
"Farmers have observed 10 dry days between July and October for drying and evaporation. Fodder shortages have now spread to the border counties and Midlands," he said.
“The fodder situation is serious and getting worse. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must urgently address this deepening crisis and implement a fodder scheme to establish a fund for affected farmers. He needs to introduce an emergency fodder scheme immediately.
"The Government must step in to assist our farmers. While farmers have been warning about this problem for months now, the Minister for Agriculture has been claiming there is sufficient fodder across the country.
“Farmers have warned that any fodder that they do manage to produce now will be of poor quality - leading to potential animal health problems," he said.