Urgent help with haulage is still needed to deliver emergency supplies of forage to farmers in Wales and northern England.
Lorry loads of hay and silage have been delivered to livestock farmers following an appeal started by Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward. But more help is required to get forage donated by fellow farmers to where it is needed most.
Mr Ward said he had been inundated with offers after the BBC featured his appeal on The One Show earlier in May. The programme highlighted the plight of farmers suffering livestock feed shortages after being hit by the coldest March in 51 years.
Some 31 loads of forage have now been delivered. But a further 35 loads are waiting to go – as soon as the haulage can be found for them. Mr Ward said: “Farmers are desperate for it and the hauliers are doing their best to transport it for free – but it is costly.”
Transport for three loads had been paid by recipient farmers who received the forage for free, said Mr Ward. Haulage for some other loads had been pledged on a “when convenient” basis. But it would be unfair to expect companies to repeatedly transport forage long-distances for free.
In a separate development, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has claimed that a €2m southern Irish scheme to help farmers import fodder from the UK and other EU countries is distorting the market for Welsh livestock producers also in desperate need of fodder.
The imported fodder transport scheme has been established due to the severe shortages in the republic caused by severe weather over the past 12 months. But the problems facing Welsh farmers are no different and are, in fact, being exacerbated by the Irish scheme, says the union.
“Farmers throughout Wales are still struggling due to the effect of the weather over the past year, particularly since mid-March, and fodder continues to be a real problem on every type of farm here,” said FUW hill farm chairman Derek Morgan, Llangurig, Powys.
Offers of help with haulage can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot help directly with haulage, but would like to help with costs, please consider making a donation at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/forageaid.