Unseasonable heavy rainfall means farmers and silage contractors are looking at a bleak autumn and winter.

Less than a quarter of the country's agricultural contractors have been able to harvest the silage crop so far this year because of the consistent bad weather in June.

The west, midlands and north east of the country have been the worst affected. Behind on his silage harvest, dairy farmer Malcolm Johnston already knows what the immediate impact will be,

I will have no fodder at all for next year.

Contractors are also under pressure, with repayments due to banks. Immediate assistance is required for the agricultural sector, says ICMSA (Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association) president Pat O’Rourke.

It’s quite clear that we now have a national crisis here.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 July 2002. The reporter is Ciaran Mullooly.