Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Significant' impact in spring from floods

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

Flood damage at Martin McInerney's farmyard and silage pit in Cahermore, south Galway. Picture: Hany Marzouk
Flood damage at Martin McInerney's farmyard and silage pit in Cahermore, south Galway. Picture: Hany Marzouk

Farmers with grassland under several feet of water will face a "significant" impact on grass growth in the spring, a Teagasc expert warned.

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Michael O'Donovan, Teagasc's grassland specialist, said it may take until April or May before farmers see recovery in those badly impacted areas where land and farmyards have been submerged.

"It will be significant enough, there'll be reduced production on those paddocks for quite a while. You are talking about the sward having to rejuvenate itself. The existing sward in any case is probably dead," he said.

Yet, he described a mixed bag throughout the rest of the country, with many of the areas escaping flooding benefitting from mild temperatures until recent days.

Mr O'Donovan said most areas have a strong enough winter coat of grass, with much dependent on how fast the ground can dry out.

Teagasc tillage experts estimate around 5pc of the crop area faces potential flood damage.

"In Wexford despite the major flooding in towns, most crops are reasonably ok, with the major flooding taking place beside rivers in areas, which were not generally sown to winter cereals," said Wexford advisor Ciaran Hickey.

However, he said the yield potential may be impacted.

Teagasc's Michael Hennessy told grain growers to check drains and where possible create a channel to allow surface water run into ditches.

The Agriculture Department will operate a hardship scheme and it has also already begun accepting applications to its fodder replacement scheme, for damaged hay, silage and feed, with a "significant level" of enquiries and nine applications received so far.

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