What an extraordinary time. March was the longest month I can remember.
Last month, the country was recovering from three tough winter storms in a row and farmers throughout the nation were dealing with the wettest February in living memory.
Now we have to cope with a global pandemic. What's next?
In March 2018 we were battered the Beast from the East. I remember saying to my dad then that I had seen it all now: forage crisis, hurricanes, storms, floods, economic crises and blizzards… all the boxes had been ticked, but a world pandemic?
In the middle of it all, though, a farm is not a bad place to be self-isolating, and thankfully the weather is kinder.
I am very aware of how important it is to adhere to the rules on this as my parents are elderly - Dad recently turning 90. I wouldn't like to jeopardise their health so we have measures in place to protect them. While they are missing Mass and visits, I caught a glimpse of them out doing a bit of gardening.
One thing I would like to see from all this is that factories pay farmers directly into their bank accounts.
The cheque is becoming a thing of the past, and forcing farmers to go into the banks to lodge money is unfair, given that we must reduce our social interactions.
We've had to electronically tag our sheep, so now they can electronically pay for our lambs.
Despite everything that is going on outside the yard gate, life on the farm here is very much as normal. Lambing has been going great.
My Mule ewes and their Suffolk and Texel cross daughters are doing their jobs nicely. I lambed 280 twin-bearing ewes outside with very few losses.
There was the odd one only having enough milk for one lamb and the occasional one where the lambs were coming backwards needing assistance. Sometimes some of my ewes are 'too posh to push', and they need a helping hand, almost waiting for me to show up in the field to help them.
The main flock has just finished lambing and I am just waiting for the ewe lambs to kick off. I've been taking good care of these ladies as you have to keep in mind that not only are they growing a lamb, they are also still growing themselves, so they need to be well fed and cannot afford any setbacks.
It takes a very special ewe lamb to rear two lambs, and I'd love to see them all with just the one lamb.
If I have any doubts about a ewe lamb's ability to take care of twin lambs, I will take one away to artificially rear her. It's not ideal but it's better than being too hard on the ewe or even running the risk of her losing her lamb altogether.
It's so important to close up fields in October and November if you intend to have grass in the spring. It means they have a four- or five-month rest period over the winter, which leaves them in good stead for growing grass exactly when you need it at lambing time.
If grass is tight on the farm, I hold off moving them to their next paddock for a couple more days than I would normally do while supplementing them with nuts.
It's a short-term solution to a grass shortage on the farm. It is expensive but worth it in the long run. It gives the next paddocks time to get going, and eventually you will get a sustainable level of grass on the farm, reducing the need to feed nuts.
The sheep and lambs will also still be thriving and in a good position to make the most of the spring grass when it does arrive, thriving well and pushing the lambs to finish sooner.
It's now the time of year to be on the watch out for grass tetany. Its lethal. With mild weather and bit of growth in nitrogen-rich fields, ewes can drop dead like flies from it.
You must be vigilant and have magnesium licks in the fields, along with injectable magnesium on hand in case you need it. All you can do to in the fight against tetany is stay vigilant and regularly check the ewes for it.
During lambing time, I regularly keep an eye on the ewes and if any of them have problems such as prolapse, poor milk production or are bad mothers, they are ear-notched and culled. You cannot afford to keep problem ewes on the farm.
Until Covid-19' struck, lamb price was looking great, but it's ironic that food can't be kept on the shelves in supermarkets; it just shows you where people's priorities lie.
As food producers, I hope that the pandemic does not lead to profiteering at the expense of farmers from whatever enterprise, and I envisage that once things settle down, and I have no doubt they will, Irish agriculture will be in very strong position
It's worth noting that worldwide pollution levels have dropped significantly since people have stopped flying and cut back on driving.
The argument that farming is the big polluter no longer has any credence in a post-Covid-19 world.
John Fagan farms in Gartlandstown, Co Westmeath