Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has announced a €1 million scheme to cover some of the cost of imported fodder for farm animals.

Farmers are in need of urgent supplies of feed following the wettest summer on record, which was followed by a long, wet winter, leaving a serious fodder shortage.

The scheme will be operated through dairy co-ops from where farmers can get application forms in the next few days.

The co-ops have confirmed that they will facilitate farmers who need help in sourcing urgent fodder supplies, whether or not they are existing customers or suppliers.

The scheme will cover the transport cost of importing fodder into the country and will cover supplies from 15 April.

Minister Coveney said the scheme should reduce the cost to farmers of a bale of hay by approximately one third.

The minister will tomorrow meet representatives of the banks and CEOs of the co-ops to discuss the fodder situation further.

IFA President John Bryan welcomed the announcement to subsidise the costs of transporting fodder from the UK.

He said the Government must keep this in place until the crisis abates.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association said the initiative will be very helpful in reducing the cost of imported straw, hay and silage for farmers who are struggling to feed their livestock.

Earlier, the IFA appealed to the Government to help fund the transportation of fodder from the UK.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, IFA President John Bryan said it was time for the Government to be more pro-active in assisting farmers hit by the fodder crisis.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called on the Taoiseach to establish a national coordinating group to come up with solutions to the problem.

Enda Kenny said Minister Coveney had been in contact with banks, co-ops and feed merchants so farmers can get credit and access to fodder.