The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has called for the ring-fencing of fuel supplies.
It wants a total combined and immediate short-term requirement of 200 million litres of green diesel (Marked Gas Oil: MGO) to be ring-fenced for the farm and forestry contractor sector between the end of April 2022 and the end of September 2022.
The body has warned that if this does not occur, “there will not be enough fuel to harvest the national silage crop”.
In turn, it said that this will lead to lower winter fodder supplies. As a result, it warned this would result in additional feed costs “if they are available and affordable to import”.
Therefore, the body believes this will have negative consequences for dairy and meat production on Irish farms.
The FCI said: “This will, in turn, lead to a reduction in farm output. It will significantly impact on Ireland’s ability to achieve its export targets of more than €14 billion in dairy and meat food products that feed more than 40 million people across the world.”
It has written to the Ministers for Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Agriculture and Transport regarding the matter.
FCI chairman, John Hughes, has said the past fortnight has “exacerbated” the association’s viability concerns for its members in their abilities to provide their services to Irish farmers due to a combination of “huge” fuel cost increases and reduced fuel supply issues.
Through its membership, the FCI has been monitoring MGO costs each week for more than two years on an actual quotation basis.
FCI’s market monitoring has shown that MGO prices have doubled since January 2022.
“This MGO is used in the machines that our members operate to provide services to thousands of farmers in every townland throughout Ireland,” he added.
Its research shows that during last year, its members were quoted an average MGO bulk delivery price of €0.75/L plus VAT, with “slight” variations throughout the year.
“In the past two weeks, quotations have risen to over double that price now. They are averaging upwards of €1.30/L plus VAT.”
“This is the highest price for MGO ever quoted in Ireland for farm & forestry contractors,” the association added.