Fodder stock concerns following a dry summer

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Following the prolonged dry weather this summer, AHDB conducted a fodder stock survey, which aimed to collect information on the current stock levels across the UK. There were 110 responses, with the majority of respondents living in the South West of England.

Farmers are encouraged to secure straw requirements now and also look at alternative bedding options, with only 47% of respondents reporting to have forward-bought straw. They also highlighted concerns for the future straw availability as a high price and managing cash flows.

More than 60% of the respondents claimed they had fodder concerns for the future, including the effect of the weather on forage yield, straw availability, managing cash flow, not being able to make the second- or third-cut silage, the ability to successfully establish brassica crops and the necessity to cull livestock to reduce demand.

When asked the question how much fodder stock they currently had in stock, 31% of respondents claimed to have 10% less than normal, 24% responded as having normal levels and 22% claimed to have 50% less than their normal levels. The majority of those stating levels of 50% less than normal were from the West Midlands, southwest England and southeast England, where dry weather has been a particular issue.

More than 40% of respondents claimed to be short of grass silage or forage, while more than 30% claimed to not be short of any forage. However, when asked which forages they had enough of, 40% of respondents identified grass silage and 39% of respondents claimed to not have enough on any forages.

The AHDB forage calculator can help farmers to determine current levels of stock and what is needed for the future.

For more information on how to plan your winter forage stocks, please see the following AHDB resources:

This dashboard below, visually represents the data collected in the AHDB Fodder survey.