A farmer has lost thousands of pounds after quadbikers destroyed large tracts of uncut silage amid the worst fodder crises in recent memory.
Danny McCloskey, who leases a field on the Buncrana Road to grow feed for the animals he keeps in Culmore, said the vandalism was a huge blow.
The motorised trespassers turned the land into a make-shift race track at the weekend destroying grass due to be harvested for winter feed over the next few weeks.
“This field was for our second cut of winter feeding for the livestock. Because the summer was so dry we had a very bad yield,” he said.
“We were hoping for a better yield [in August]. It costs us about £35 a bale. So last year we went through 300 bales of feeding for the livestock.
“Now look at the damage they’ve done here.
“We’ve insurance, we’ve paid for the land, we’ve spent money on fertiliser and everything else, and we have this wanton destruction. Where were the police? These people were on quads and motorcycles and nobody seems to care what’s going on.”
The part-time farmer explained how the unusually dry summer had resulted in negligible grass growth across Ireland, heaping pressure on local livestock-keepers.
“We’re looking at a crisis of a shortage of feeding across the whole of Ireland and the United Kingdom, so we were trying to plan for that and save money. If we had extra feeding we could help someone else who hadn’t any feeding.
“In the farming community everybody tries to help each other but this here is just pure wanton destruction and nobody seems to care,” he complained.
Mr. McCloskey revealed the outlay that goes into the unremarkable sloping field near the border crossing at Cosquin is substantial.
“It’s about £13,000 to £14,000. It’s a lot of money. I know that 99 per cent of the people of this city would abhor this because they are animal-loving people. They care about what goes on but this is a group of people who think they can do what they want.”
Given the destruction, Mr. McCloskey estimates three quarters of the second silage cut will be lost.
Quite aside from the damage to the livelihood of local farmers, however, there could have been even more serious consequences for those who tore up the field, he said.
“If they crashed into a car or someone walking their dog was injured or killed I couldn’t live with that. We want to make these people safe and aware of what they’re doing.
“It’s not to brand them as bad people. It’s to make them aware of what they’ve done.”