Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 16 July 2018

Farming family forced to dig to get water for cattle to drink

With no rain coming from above, a Co Down farming family have had to go underground to keep their animals watered
With no rain coming from above, a Co Down farming family have had to go underground to keep their animals watered

Staff Reporter

With no rain coming from above, a Co Down farming family have had to go underground to keep their animals watered.

John Ross MacMathuna (35) helps out on his father's farm in Rostrevor. For the first time since 1995 they have had to dig more than a metre underground to access water for their cattle.

Like much of the country, Rostrevor has experienced high temperatures over the past week, ranging from 27C to 30C. The family also have grazing fields three miles away from their home.

"There's about 18 acres not directly connected to the farm and they would have streams coming down that run through them - but every single one of them is bone dry," said Mr MacMathuna.

"We couldn't have put any cattle in those fields because they would have died of thirst. That is why we had to go up with the digger because otherwise, a third of the farm would have been taken out of action.

"We dug in a few places where we knew there would be water. Although there's now water to drink, it doesn't help that there's very little for the cattle to eat. It's one thing having water, but they'll be hungry as well.

"They'll get by, but they won't be putting on weight. This is normally the prime grass-growing time too."

Drought to continue

Met Éireann has issued yet another high-temperature warning as temperatures are expected to reach high 20s across 14 counties today.

The Status Yellow warning was issued at 4pm on Tuesday afternoon and comes into effect on Wednesday at 2pm, remaining in place until 7pm that evening.

The counties affected include Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Meath, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.

Temperatures are expected to hit highs of 27 or 28 degrees.

With no significant rainfall forecast over the next five days, a Status Yellow drought warning remains in place. 

The drought warning is in effect until July 6 – though farmers and livestock owners are worried it could be extended further.

In its latest seven-day forecast, Met Eireann said the “dry, warm and settled spell will persist into the early days of next week”.

However, it’s not all good news as the Department of Agriculture said there was a serious risk of fires throughout the country.

Its ‘Condition Red – Extreme Fire Risk’ warning has been extended until noon on Friday.

Belfast Telegraph

Get the latest news from the FarmIreland team 3 times a week.





More in News