Farmer says dry weather has run rings around the forecasters
To date the year 2017 just keeps on giving. After an exceptionally dry, mild winter we had a very reasonable spring. April really continued the trend with only a tiny proportion of normal rainfall - a local weather station recorded just 8mm for the entire month.
This was in stark contrast to the predictions of Ken Ring, the best known long-term weather forecaster in the world.
He indicated we would have up to 20 wet days in the west and 25pc more rainfall than normal. This dry weather continued into May and for a period impacted on our grass growth as the moisture deficit increased.
However, while we were short of grass for a few weeks all the calves, maiden heifers and cows were thriving and enjoying the sun on their backs along with a dry lie.
During May, this extreme dry period which led to drought also saw one of the biggest fires ever in the west when a large area of forestry went ablaze in the Cloosh Valley in Connemara. We are maybe 30 miles east of the valley, but one evening a smog engulfed the region and rolled all the way out to us before it dispersed. It is clear that under-grazed commonage adjacent to forestry is a high-risk combination.
This wonderful weather along with extra cows on farms has helped propel milk output during May to record levels to all the milk processors.
When combined with a solid milk price, it really does present us with the opportunity to move forward following the very difficult year endured in 2016.
At present, the cows are producing 24 litres at 4.28pc fat and 3.65pc protein or 1.95kg/ms per day and we are feeding 1.6kg of a 14pc dairy ration.