22 November 1996

VOLUNTARY SYSTEM IRKS IRISH

FARMERS, advisers and researchers are not happy with the voluntary Directory of Silage Additives currently published in the Republic of Ireland.

While some independent research information on products is available to farmers through their advisers, there is growing pressure for a more formal, or even statutory, approval scheme.

The directory is updated each year by Teagasc, the Irish national advisory and research organisation. In 1995 it listed 65 products, including 15 acids, four enzymes, 37 inoculants, five salts and four sugars.

Commercial companies selling silage additives are asked to volunteer the names of the products they sell, their ingredients, recommended application rates and method of application, and the probable cost to farmers.

They are also requested to supply the results of independent trials, done under Irish conditions, indicating ensiling efficiency, the nutritive value of silages made using the additive, and animal performance data. There is no official monitoring or validation of the stated ingredients or quality of products on the Irish market.

Teagasc would like to see a more formal scheme that would allow them to guide farmers towards the most appropriate choices for their conditions.