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HomeBeefAg contractors expect silage harvesting to extend into October
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Ag contractors expect silage harvesting to extend into October

“Agricultural contractor FCI members expect to be harvesting grass silage crops up until the beginning of October, even if weather conditions improve in the coming weeks,” according to its national chair, John Hughes.

He said that ongoing poor weather conditions in 2023 are proving to be a “difficult” silage and cereal harvesting.

Hughes outlined that, as a result, there are “shortages of winter feed in many areas and cattle are eating into first-cut silage reserves on many farms”.

“The production partnerships that exist between farmers and their agricultural contractor, have clearly identified that attempts at a third-cut of grass silage will extend the harvest into early October,” he added.

Silage survey

In July, the FCI reported that there has been, on average, 15% less first-cut silage area harvested in 2023 compared with 2022, with the range from +10% to -66% depending on the location/county.

The findings of the FCI-led survey were presented to the National Fodder and Food Security Committee this week.

To support the work of the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) as part of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee, FCI undertook the survey of members to identify any changes in first cut silage harvesting output in 2023 compared with 2022.

The survey was carried out by means of WhatsApp messaging among the 350 members of the FCI agricultural contractor WhatsApp group in week 29, commencing on July 17th, 2023 – you can read more via this news article on

Call for slurry spreading deadline extension

Hughes continued: “The immediate priority of our FCI members who provide combine harvesting, straw management, silage harvesting, slurry spreading, and cultivation services to thousands of Irish farmers, is now to use their skills and machinery management experience harvest the cereal crop of the highest nutritional and monetary value, manage the harvest of the straw, as well as secure grass fodder supplies for their client farmers.”

After weeks of heavy rainfall, agricultural contractors have called upon the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage of Ireland, Darragh O’Brien, TD and Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Mr Charlie McConalogue, TD, to extend the period for slurry spreading to October 15th, 2023.

The body has stated that deadline dates will be “impossible” to achieve due to ongoing poor harvesting conditions for grass silage and tillage crops.

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