Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 22 July 2018

'I'm doing rain dances every morning praying for rain'

Darragh McCullough
Darragh McCullough
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Irish farms will be lucky to get rain in the next ten days, journalist and farmer Darragh McCullough has warned.

The Meath farmer told RTE Radio One’s Sean O’ Rourke this morning that there was a drought situation on his farm.

“I farm in east Meath which is a dry part of country anyway. It’s had less than 10pc of typical rainfall for June. It’s basically in a drought situation.

“Farmers are feeding meal to cows and silage to cows. I had a farmer who lives near me ring me yesterday saying that he has started letting in cows at night and taking them in during day because of the heat.,” he said.

Darragh added that while the country experienced high levels of rainfall in the first three months of the year, the next three have been extremely dry.

“There will people out there saying these farmers are never happy. People come in me and say it’s great weather but I’m out doing rain dances every morning praying for rain.

“Total rainfall to date this year has been pretty normal except it was all concentrated in the first three months of the year. I’d feel lucky if we got rain in ten days time but the ratchet keeps on tightening,” he said.

Darragh added that the current spell of dry weather will put farmers with larger dairy herds in the south and east under pressure to quench the thirst of cows.

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“There are wells running dry and cows are thirstier than ever. Dairy cows are the animals that have the biggest demand. If they pump out 20-30 litres, they need to drink about 120 litres a day

“The standard dairy cow herd is 100 and in some places nearly 200 cows and if your well runs dry and if you have 100 cows needing 24,000 litres a day you’ve a mains under pressure,” he said.

He also expects a 5pc drop or even 10pc drop in grain yield if we don’t get grain which will ultimately lead to an increase in prices.

He explained that his own potatoes would be affected by the weather, while his 100 acre grain crop is racing through the growth stages and will ripen in a way that means the crop won’t develop as it should.

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