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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

"There should be 90 or 100 grand worth of broccoli here - we probably won't see any of it"

The current heat wave has been impacting farmers across the country who are hoping to save their crops from being wiped out.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“THERE’LL BE NO harvesting in this field at all,” if the rain doesn’t come soon says north Dublin farmer Colm Leonard.

The current heatwave has caused his broccoli crop to stop growing at a time when he and his workers should be harvesting. Instead they are waiting for rain, using some irrigation methods and hoping it will save the whole field from being wiped out.

“It’s got to the stage now where we are growing the crop from start to finish on irrigation,” Leonard says. “And it’s just impossible really.”

It’s a sentiment shared by other farmers across the country.

Irish Farmers’ Association President Joe Healy has said the current dry weather is causing difficulties for farmers who reply on rainfall for grass and crop growth.

The IFA has said this period will impact on yields and farmers income with Healy stating that:

Crop losses look inevitable with growers facing a situation where winter crops in the ground are stressed, and spring crops planted about eight weeks ago have not had any rain since.”

He urged factories and retailers to act responsibly at this difficult time and not put undue downward pressure on prices, something that Leonard only knows too well.

“It probably cost €50,000 to put this crop in the ground,” he says. “There should be €90,000 to €100,000 worth of broccoli here. And we probably won’t see any of it.”

If it rains in the next two weeks there’s a chance the fields could be saved, but until then he and his workers will be up at all hours of the day chasing water from irrigation channels so some water can make it onto the crops.

Recovered or not Leonard believes that “vegetables are going to be very scarce this year.”

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