Only 40pc of spring barley crop harvested as farmers brace for more rain

Aerial view of flooding in Donegal
Aerial view of flooding in Donegal
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Difficult weather conditions at this critical juncture of the harvest will compound the income crisis many tillage farmers are facing due to a fourth season of low prices and inevitable crop losses.

That’s according to IFA National Grain Committee Chairman, Liam Dunne who has said that a very significant portion of the main spring barley crop along with winter wheat remains to be cut.

“Latest estimates suggesting that only 40pc of spring barley has been harvested to date in the early sown areas.

“Heavy rains and high humidity has stopped harvest progress, particularly in northern parts of the country for the last 10 days. Unless there is a considerable improvement in weather, field losses will rise dramatically as straw begins to break down and heads fall to the ground.

"Arable crop production in Ireland is set to fall further as many growers question the futility of growing crops that in many cases are returning low, if not negative, margins particularly off rented land, and then factor in a weather risk.

“There needs to be a fundamental rethink regarding the role and value of cereal, oilseed and protein crop production in terms of sustainable food production as manufacturers and processors target a wider EU market post Brexit."

Meanwile, another rainfall warning has been issued by Met Eireann for Donegal. Further spells of heavy rain are expected to affect the northwest of the country through today and tomorrow with the potential for 25 to 40mm to accumulate in 24 hours in county Donegal. Greatest totals about higher ground.

The weather across the rest of the country is expected to be “mixed and changeable” coming into this weekend.

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Met Éireann forecaster, Liz Walsh, told that there will be heavy rain in some parts of the country.

“Today we have an area of low pressure over the north west.

“This is going to cause outbreaks of heavy rain in Munster and Ulster, basically from Clare up to Ulster,” she said.

Leinster looks set to avoid most of this heavy rain, with the county expected to remain mainly dry with some sunny spells.

Temperatures are expected to range from 15 degrees to 20 degrees.

Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy in the northern half of the country, with outbreaks of rain expected in Connacht, Ulster and in north Leinster but drier further south. However the bad weather is set to spread across the country as the day goes on.

The weather should settle on Saturday and it's expected to stay bright and mostly dry, with sunny spells and just a few scattered showers across the north and north eastern parts of the country.

Sunday is set for some bright spells in parts of the east and south, but mostly cloudy, with outbreaks of rain and drizzle across the country.

Temperatures over the weekend will range from 16 degrees to 20 degrees.

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