Wet weather on the way with parts of the country due to get gale force winds

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Claire Fox

Claire Fox

The rain predicted by Met Eireann for later in the week will be welcome news for farmers who are facing drought conditions in many parts of the country.

According to Met Eireann rain is set to develop on the west coast on Wednesday morning and will extend to the rest of the country during the afternoon and early evening.

Wednesday will be extremely windy across the country with strong to gale force and gusty south to southwest winds.

Thursday is expected to be showery in places with gusts of winds and temperatures ranaging from 14-18C.

Rain is set to spread to all areas by Friday night with conditions expected to be unsettled and changeable for the weekend.

This outlook will come as welcome news to farmers following Met Eireann's announcement that parts of the country are experiencing soil moisture deficits of between 30mm and 60mm.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Teagasc-led Fodder Crisis group last week heard that all first cut silage should be done by the end of June.

Teagasc Head of Livestock Systems, Padraig French, told the meeting that while in the short term grass growth is very high, with most farms seeing 80kg of growth a day over the past six weeks, the country is not hitting a moisture deficit yet, but it is getting close to it.

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He said that another week of good weather will cause a problem on drier soils; grass growth will slow down and farmers will have to react fast.

He advised farmers to continue any current rotations and to keep monitoring covers.

“When you see growth slowing down, react and drop stocking rate or look at supplementation,” he said.

He advised farmers to supplement feed now, rather than allow cattle to eat the grass now and buy supplementary feed in the winter.

Teagasc is also encouraging farmers to make a fodder budget now and assess what fodder needs they might have this winter.

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