Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Floods wreak havoc in midland counties

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Flooded farmland is once again a feature of the west and midlands, with water levels rising rapidly in the wake of heavy rainfall in recent days.

Farmers who were hoping to have early grass had their hopes dashed over the weekend as floodwaters rose in Longford, Leitrim, Galway and Roscommon.

Farmers in the Shannon catchment area and along the River Suck were worst hit, with paddocks under water, while sheep and cattle eat through the remaining fodder stores.

Floods have appeared on farms close to Athlone, Longford town, Lanesboro, Carrick-on-Shannon and Roosky after heavy rain last week and over the weekend.

However, snow was also a feature, with heavy falls in hilly areas in the northern half of the country. Sheep farmers have been badly affected, as lamb mortality has risen sharply.

Farmers in Donegal, Tyrone and Derry have been counting the cost of snow in terms of lambs lost. Some farmers lost up to 25 lambs in one night due to sub-zero temperatures and snow blizzards.

Crop growth is three to four weeks behind normal for sown cereals, while farmers who set winter oilseed rape are considering ploughing it back into the ground because of poor establishment.

Milk production, both in terms of volume and milk solids, has slumped as cows are moved back indoors on a part-time or full-time basis.

Also Read

Severe frost in the past week has all but killed off what little grass growth was achieved in the previous week.

Fodder prices are variable, with quotes from €20 upwards for 4x4 round bales of silage. However, some farmers have chosen to feed more concentrates and grain in order to avoid the unknown quality of bought-in bales.

However, fodder stock is definitely on the move, with lorries of hay and straw travelling from the south to the west.

Precipitation levels were between two and four times normal last week, with the highest rainfall recorded at Malin Head, where 74mm, or close to three inches, of rain fell.

Irish Independent