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Bad Weather

Farmers face 'extreme pressures' as heavy rainfall saturates soil

Most areas around the country have been wetter than normal over the last week, according to Met Éireann.

THE IRISH FARMERS’ Association (IFA) has said that “prolonged” poor weather conditions are putting farmers under “extreme pressures”.

Most areas around the country have been wetter than normal over the last week, according to Met Éireann, with rainfall amounts clocking in at between 109% and 237% of their average levels. 

Farmers are reporting difficulties carrying out their normal activities due to the volume of rain, which has saturated soils.

In a statement, IFA President Francie Gorman said that farmers cannot access grassy land because of the wet ground conditions and that tillage farmers cannot get onto their land to plant their crops.

“Everybody in the sector needs to pull together to alleviate the extreme pressures on farmers at the moment,” Gorman said.

He outlined that the “incessant rainfall and shocking ground conditions are adding hugely to costs and stress levels for farmers”.

Met Éireann’s latest farming commentary has detailed that the wettest conditions were in the southwest, with 55.8mm of rainfall recorded at its Valentia station in Co Kerry.

Drying conditions will be moderate or poor this week as any dry spells will be short lived and opportunities for spraying will be limited due to frequently blustery and wet conditions, according to the national forecaster.

Met Éireann has previously warned that farming is expected to face increasing challenges as global warming destabilises Ireland’s climate.

Climate change is set to bring more intense and more frequent weather extremes of all kinds, include periods of intense rainfall.

The agriculture sector – which is responsible for around one-third of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions – is vulnerable to the climate crisis.

The IFA is calling for a coordinated response from the Department of Agriculture and relevant agencies to deal with what Gorman called “unprecedented weather conditions”.

“Banks, processors and input suppliers need to support farmers to carry them through this period,” he said.

He welcomed a decision by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to convene a meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee this week.

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