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Richard Hackett: Persistent east winds have undone the winter damage, but we now need a good dash of rain

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May is a very important month in setting up crops for the year.

The days are lengthening, soil and air temperatures are increasing, disease and pests haven't had a chance to gain a foothold and there is usually enough residual moisture in the soil to meet the needs of developing crops.

'A wet and windy May fills the barns with corn and hay' goes the old rhyme which underlines the importance of this month as a transition between spring and summer weather.