March 16, 2012
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin has called for more precise information on the quality of rations fed to cattle and sheep. Mr Gilmartin explained that farmers could not assess the value for money of various rations without more exact information on energy values and ingredients used.
“Farmers are buying rations on a promise but without the key information to enable them to assess what they are getting. The lack of information makes it impossible to compare one ration against another and this acts as a barrier to shopping around and seeking best value. Moreover, farmers need to be able to accurately assess the cost and benefits of all feeds given to stock and not just when the animal is finished, or the milk produced. This has become an even more serious issue with the high cost of rations and it is time that the regulations governing what information is available is revisited.”
“At present, the regulations require that a compounder selling a ration provides a list of ingredients in order of usage in the ration. However, the farmer has no idea whether there is 30% or 50% barley, for example, nor has he any figure for energy, on either the ME (metabolisable energy) or NE (net energy) basis. This is simply not good enough and it is time for a full debate on why we can’t have transparency on the biggest single cost item on most farms,” he concluded.