Dairy farmers say they may need more funding

DAIRY farmers might need more financial support, as the pound weakens and fertiliser and winter feed prices rise.

Jim Naftel, pictured with his dairy cows at Les Fauconnaires, said he would have struggled without the funding from Environment & Infrastructure. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31315994)
Jim Naftel, pictured with his dairy cows at Les Fauconnaires, said he would have struggled without the funding from Environment & Infrastructure. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31315994)

Nearly half a million pounds of emergency funding was granted over the summer, as long drought saw grass fields turn brown.

Guernsey Farmers’ Association president Michael Bray, who is the tenant at Les Jaonnets Farm in St Saviour’s, was thankful for the States’ intervention.

But he said that money would only take them to the New Year.

‘Prices of fertiliser and feed stabilised for a bit but are now increasing. The fertiliser price is hugely influenced by the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar, as there’s only one fertiliser plant in the UK, and all their ammonia is imported from the US,’ he said.

‘And the fertiliser obviously affects the price of feed and wheat. The maize harvest hasn’t been brilliant either, so that affects our stocks. So it’s not looking rosy for the next 18 months.’

Mr Bray thought that the dairy industry may need further funding.

‘The dairy group and the independent accountant from the States Dairy are now auditing our members’ costs and looking at sustainability and viability going forward.’

An Environment & Infrastructure Committee spokesman said a review should be carried out to look at the sector’s long-term sustainability.

‘We continue to monitor the immediate situation, but remain committed to developing a longer-term solution.’

Guernsey’s 2023 budget revealed that the budget reserve included the possibility of the continuation of financial support to dairy farmers.

Jim Naftel, who has a dairy herd of 40 cows at Les Fauconnaires, agreed that it would have been hard to continue without the injection of almost half a million pounds into the industry from Environment & Infrastructure in August.

‘The funding made a big difference,’ he said.

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