Chris Mallon, Chief Executive of the National Beef Association, has received many telephone calls asking for information about the cattle on the Somerset Flats and the other main areas which have been affected by the severe flooding. Here he asks for support for both the farmers and their livestock.
I really want to reiterate that yes, the flooding is have a dramatic effect, however, the main concern for all of the farmers who are being affected at this current time is the welfare of their livestock. They farm 365 days a year and they are there to care for their animals, this weather is making it almost impossible for them to do that.
Yes, there will be financial implications however this is something farmers will need to consider at a later stage. At this stage well all must try to help them.
The local community are already supporting these livestock producers and this morning Sedgemoor Auction Centre, North Petherton, coordinating the transportation of cattle off farms has sent out an appeal for fodder. This fodder will be used to feed livestock which has been moved onto other farms or where the feed has been destroyed on farms. There is a second appeal, or donations to assist with haulage, many of the local hauliers are giving their time and services free of charge, however additional support will also be required.
These areas which are being so tragically affected by flooding are home to many suckler and dairy farms and farmers need support for their livestock.
On some farms, cattle are having to be moved to safety and on most farms grain, hay and silage stores have destroyed or rendered inaccessible by the water. This has resulted in a severe shortage of feed. Dairy farmers are also struggling hugely as milking parlours and calf rearing facilities, which all have electronic systems, have been totally destroyed. Once the water
penetrates them they are effectively a right off.
The movement of cattle is being organised and co-ordinated by Sedgemoor Auction Marts who are doing fantastic job in the most difficult and emotive of conditions.