News

Start planning for potential drought, says Forage Aid

Forage Aid Trustees are urging farmers around the United Kingdom to start planning on how they will deal with possible drought conditions over the summer months. A very dry spring has left many livestock farmers with limited grass growth to meet the growing demand following lambing and calving. Some farms have reported grass growth to be 40% behind the long-term average and growth continues to be restricted by a lack of moisture.

Forage Aid Founder and Chairman Andrew Ward MBE said ‘After dealing with serious flooding around the country in 2019 the last thing we expected to be warning about in May 2020 would be the potential for another drought. However, after a very dry spring that is exactly what we are concerned about.’

The last drought in the UK was experienced only two years ago in 2018, and after a difficult 2019 many livestock farms may already be running tight for feed stocks. Whilst we can hope that rain arrives in time, hope is not a strategy for good business planning. Forage Aid are asking farmers to start thinking about what actions they can take to protect their futures if another drought takes hold.

‘With careful planning many farmers should be able to manage through a drought period,’ said Neil Wilson, Forage Aid Trustee and Executive Director of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland. ‘Our experience from 2018 was that those businesses who planned for the dry spell were able to cope. We also faced challenges sourcing forage for those in need as supplies were very tight.’

There are several resources available to farmers to help plan for dry conditions. AHDB offer a feed budget planner to help budget throughout the season. Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service also offer feed budgeting advice and Quality Meat Scotland have produced the helpful guide below.

Over the years Forage Aid has helped many farmers following extreme weather events and the most challenging years have been those where drought has been the problem. Sourcing surplus forage for donation in a dry year is exceptionally difficult and makes it much harder to help farmers in need. Planning for the event becomes critical at times like these. Please help yourself and the industry by thinking about it now and use the tools available to build a drought resilience plan for your farm business.

SHARE Facebook Twitter

Latest Posts

“It is quite a responsibility – but so rewarding.”

Having started his career as a professional Rugby League player, Graham Hogg ran his large family farm in Cumbria for 30 years. Now 61 and semi-retired from a third career in stonemasonry, he is Forage Aid’s Regional Co-ordinator for the Cumbria-North Lancs area, and lives with his wife in Egremont. In 2016 he won a […]

Read more

“Forage Aid helped me through a very tough time.”

Doug Barningham lives with his wife Nicola and three children in Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire, on a farm that’s been in his family for at least three generations. Following terrible flooding in July and August 2019 Forage Aid helped them along the long road towards getting the farm back on its feet. What lead to you […]

Read more

Donate now

Just Giving

Support Forage Aid by making a donation via Just Giving.

Donate
PayPal

Support Forage Aid by making a donation via PayPal.

Donate
Donate

Support Forage Aid by donating produce.

Donate