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.
Crops don't really operate on the basis of good and bad spells. They work on an accumulative basis over the season. To achieve a successful growth cycle, crops need a certain amount of heat, a certain amount of water, a certain amount of space and above all a certain amount of light and day length.
There are critical pinch points. Soil needs to be dry enough to sow at the beginning, conditions need to be bright enough near the end to fill the grain, but all in all, crop development is a marathon, not a sprint.
That is where May comes in. It generally provides a good measure of all the necessary inputs to see the crop along it way.
This year's May weather has been good up to a point. While we all have much more important things to worry about this year, along the east coast we have enjoyed and are now beginning to endure a very long dry spell, accompanied by a dry east wind. We had been looking for a dry spell and a day east wind since last July, and it finally arrived.
This weather allowed us to get spring crops into the ground in record time in record conditions.
And in most cases, it gave damaged winter crops a chance to recover from the wet winter - and more importantly, gave growers a breather.
But the conditions are now beginning to stunt growth. Crops are coming up against moisture pressure; some spring crops still have seed sitting in soil as hard and as firm as the day they were sown four weeks ago, and are not even chitted.
Some crops are taking on a bluey hue, and some spring crops on light soils are showing up all levels of nutrient deficiencies.
There is no damage done yet - we still have a long season ahead of us to compensate for a pinch point, even when the pinch point is in May.
But it would be good if the weather moved on and we got a chance to refill soil moisture levels: this is fancy parlance for 'a good dose of rain would do no harm'.
But as ever we have no control over the weather, and the Covid-19 pandemic reinforces the fact that we have little control over many of the important outside influences on our lives.
May is also an important month for the work of an agricultural consultant.
Last Friday was the deadline for Basic Payment Scheme applications.
Normally the application process is a great chance for consultants to catch up with growers across the desk rather than through rushed phone calls.
It gives us a window to watch the development of the sector as some growers expand, others contract and others take on different crops or different land banks to develop their businesses.
It's a time when you get a good sense of the status of the industry.
This year, it has been completely different. The process has been lot quicker over the phone, but less satisfying.
Of course, it's a small price to pay in the overall scheme of things, and agriculture is one of the few industries to come though this pandemic so relatively unscathed.
And as we look through the fancy mapping programmes down at our ancient field systems and recall ancient townland names when filling in the forms, it's a reminder that these fields and the people that populated them before us, also endured much worse - and with a lot less science and understanding to guide them on their way.
It's as good a reminder as any that 'this too shall pass'.
Richard Hackett is an agronomist based in north Co Dublin and a member of the ITCA and ACA