Farmers in Munster have begun importing hay from Britain in an effort to alleviate fodder shortages.

Dairygold, one of the country's biggest milk producers, has brought in 75 truckloads of hay from England.

It is being distributed to farmers this weekend.

The hay is being sold at cost price and demand is said to be very strong.

Lack of grass growth has caused significant problems for farmers this year.

The Department of Agriculture is to make emergency payments to farmers in greatest need.

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív called on Minster Simon Coveney to make €10m available to struggling farmers.

The Irish Farmers' Association has said that the importing of hay from Britain may be unusual, but it is not surprising.

A spokesperson said the slow grass growth is due to a delayed spring, the recent cold snap and a difficult summer last year.