Washout: Donegal farmers in race against time to save crops
Farmers throughout the west are battling the elements, but those in Donegal face a fodder crisis
Tillage and livestock farmers in Donegal are in a race against the weather to save late autumn crops and avert a fodder crisis because persistent, heavy rain continues to hold up operations on both fronts.
The unremitting downpours in the region have held back most tillage operations, with over half of the crops yet to be cut, while the sodden state of the ground is causing a fodder crisis for the county's livestock farmers which, they say, is likely to persist into next spring.
The inundations throughout Donegal this year "are nearly as bad" as 1985 - a benchmark year in the region for appalling rainfall and one which resulted in "pop corned and half dripping" takes from the fields - the IFA's county chairman, Michael Chance, told the Farming Independent this week.
The association has drawn up contingency plans to get additional harvesting equipment into Donegal from neighbouring counties once there is an improvement in the weather, while the county's livestock farmers will meet in Ballintra tonight to consider their winter fodder options.
"It has been very depressing this year with the weather hindering everything. We have offers of combine harvesters from farms in counties further south to harvest the crops once the weather lifts. We need three or so good days to save the rest of this year's crops," the IFA chairman said.
Chance explained that apart from the weather, the "tillage men" have been hit by poor prices and lower yields. "It is rarely that you get hit by these three factors at the one time in the same year," he added.
He also pointed out that the tillage ground in the county was becoming badly compacted as farmers took what few chances they got to harvest crops.
The current compacted state of the ground will also have an adverse effect on sowing season next spring.