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Farm fodder crisis will continue unless we confront climate change

9 May 2013

Victoria White, Irish Examiner

SO WE'VE had a few days of sunshine and we're telling ourselves the fodder crisis is over.
But one thing is for sure -- there's going to be another fodder crisis and another one after that because the fodder crisis is a symptom of climate change.

It's been the longest winter on record in this country. Not since the records began 70 years ago has there been a March as cold as this year's. It's been followed by the coldest April in 25 years in some areas of the country.

But March 2012 was the warmest March ever. And twice the average amount of rainfall was recorded in many parts of the country during the three summer months of 2012.

This extreme weather variation has not been limited to our shores. In the UK, this March was the coldest in nearly 50 years. Thousands of lambs were born expecting springtime, as evolution had taught them, only to die in snow storms. The eastern US states also had a bitterly cold winter after the warmest spring on record.

This variation may not seem too serious to urbanites who can still get cheap food in the shops. But if you are a farmer your livelihood depends on the predictability of the weather. If the weather goes crazy so does farming and pretty soon that has to affect everyone.

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