Fodder crisis fuelling increase in carcass collection

IFA says grass growth still well below normal

The impact of the fodder crisis is taking its toll, with truckloads of dead cattle being delivered this week to one of the west’s leading animal collection services.

Greene’s knackery in Ahascragh, east Galway, says it has witnessed a 100 per cent increase in activity, with lorries having to form a queue to unload carcasses.

The Ahascragh company, which has been some 40 years in business, serves farms from Roscommon through the midlands to south Galway.

Aileen Greene attributes the cause to undernourishment, with cattle falling ill and calves dying due to poor quality feed. “There is no feedstuff, and farmers have to turn their animals out on to grass,” she said.


Cooler temperatures were having their effect on physiological systems which were already compromised.

The company would normally be called to a farm to collect one animal which might have died from a fall, but now it says it can be taking away up to five animals at a time.

It has also been putting down severely malnourished horses which have not been fed, under a scheme approved by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Irish Farmers Association county vice chairman Michael Kelly, south Galway, said there would be a certain level of animal losses at this time of year when cows were calving.

“What has made it more difficult has been the slow grass growth and the poor quality of the silage made last year for over-wintering animals,” Mr Kelly said. “Many farmers had to supplement silage with meal, and liver fluke has also been at a very high level among cattle and sheep due to their condition . . .

“We have exceptionally bad growth now and it is 35 to 40 per cent of the level that it should be at,” he added. “This time last year, the early silage would have been harvested at this stage, so things are looking very difficult.”

Both Shannon and Dublin airports have taken the initiative to donate grass cuttings from their lands to farmers.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times