Farm­ers face wait of six months for fod­der equip­ment

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - DEREK CASEY

A SIX-MONTH wait for de­liv­ery of new diet feed­ers is be­ing re­ported as the con­tin­u­ing fod­der prob­lems drive de­mand for win­ter feed equip­ment.

The lift in sales is a direct re­sult of farm­ers util­is­ing mixer wag­ons and straw blow­ers to stretch out lim­ited on-farm fod­der and bed­ding re­serves. This equip­ment also en­ables farm­ers to in­cor­po­rate new ra­tions into their mixed feeds.

Pat Kenny of IAM Ma­chin­ery in Kilkenny said sales of win­ter feed­ing equip­ment have been ex­tremely strong for a num­ber of months due to the fod­der cri­sis, with farm­ers hav­ing to wait un­til March next year for de­liv­ery of new diet feed­ers.

“Nor­mally busi­ness wouldn’t start for diet feed­ers un­til af­ter the Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships, but this year by the end of July we had al­ready started sell­ing feed­ers. We are vir­tu­ally out of them al­ready,” Mr Kenny said.

Ma­chin­ery sales are gen­er­ally hold­ing up de­spite the im­pact this sum­mer’s drought and con­tin­u­ing fod­der short­ages have had on farm in­comes.

Al­though sales of farmer-spec mow­ers and rakes have taken a hit this year, new trac­tor regis­tra­tions are run­ning close to last year’s lev­els.

Close to 1,500 trac­tors have been sold so far this year, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est statis­tics from the Farm Trac­tor and Ma­chin­ery Trade As­so­ci­a­tion (FTMTA).

The fig­ures, which in­clude trac­tor sales up to the end of Au­gust, are 2pc back on the same pe­riod last year.

FTMTA boss Gary Ryan said 2018 trac­tor sales have ral­lied in the sec­ond half of this year as farm­ers bought new 182-reg­is­tered trac­tors in July.

How­ever, this came af­ter a very slow start to the year, with trac­tor sales to the end of Jan­uary run­ning some al­most 30pc back on 2017 fig­ures.

De­spite the down­turn in farm-spec mow­ers and rakes, Mr Ryan said sales of big­ger but­ter­fly-type silage mow­ers and large ted­ders — typ­i­cally bought by silage con­trac­tors — have been far stronger.

Har­vesters

Con­trac­tors have also been buy­ing plenty of self-pro­pelled silage har­vesters in 2018, with to­tal sales of 31 units this year.

These are hugely ex­pen­sive ma­chines , typ­i­cally cost­ing around €300,000 apiece, and the worry now is how con­trac­tors will be able to meet re­pay­ments if, as an­tic­i­pated, cash­flow dif­fi­cul­ties ma­te­ri­alise as the win­ter pro­gresses and farm­ers de­lay set­tling their con­trac­tor bills.

Sales of slurry spread­ing equip­ment has been steady rather than spec­tac­u­lar, ac­cord­ing to Eibh­lin Mur­phy of Mayo-based Ma­jor Equip­ment In­ter­na­tional.

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