30 November 2001

Helpline continues to deal with flood of calls

ALTHOUGH foot-and-mouth movement restrictions have eased in recent weeks, making sale of surplus livestock easier in some areas, the ARC Addington Fodder Bureau is still receiving 100 calls/week.

Set up to link producers needing feed or straw with those able to supply it, the Fodder Bureau has been active since September and remains busy, says co-ordinator Mike Larder. "Things have eased a little following relaxation of movement restrictions in some areas and the dry autumn has been a Godsend. Some cattle are still outside, whereas this time last year many had been housed for six weeks."

However, the bureau is receiving a steady number of enquiries from areas such as Northumberland, mid-Wales, Devon and Cornwall. "These have been worst affected by movement restrictions, with many carrying more stock than usual."

He expects the situation to grow worse in January and February. "Frequently, many producers with surplus straw hold onto it until these months, but due to this years shortages, I suspect much has already been sold."

Money from the ARC Addington Fund is used to help producers on an individual case basis, explains Mr Larder. "Some receive a contribution towards the cost of fodder and in other cases, the fund meets haulage costs. Each case is different."

Producers needing straw or forage or having surplus to sell can contact the ARC Addington Fodder Bureau (024-7669 0587). &#42