Gerry Giggins: Cattle will continue to thrive if they have shade and clean water
It's hard to believe that I started my article this time last month by welcoming the much-needed sunshine - and now many livestock and crop farmers are suffering from significant moisture deficits.
On all light soils grass growth has stagnated, whilst on heavier/cooler soils the high temperatures have forced grass plants to head out prematurely.
Grass quality has taken a hit. Where grass plants are struggling, the old observation of cattle maintaining thrive in warm weather still rings true - provided they have some shade and an ample supply of fresh, clean water.
From the early forage budgets and feed calculations that I have conducted, it is clear that there will be various degrees of forage deficits on farms.
Forage stocks were obviously depleted this spring and while first-cut silage was of excellent quality, the quantity on many farms was reduced.
In some cases, second-cut silage ground has had to be grazed, which will further squeeze forage supplies.
The recent spell of fine weather has certainly benefited winter cereal crops, with disease burden low and yield potential looking good.
These crops are now fast approaching maturity. Livestock farmers that are short of forage could consider harvesting their own grain crop as wholecrop or purchasing such an alternative forage from a local tillage farmer.