As Ireland basks in the Mediterranean-like heat, its presence is playing havoc with Irish farming.
With temperatures in the last week reaching as high as 30.8C, the continuing heatwave is causing some serious concerns regarding crop growth.
The water table is continuing to drop and that has led to a cut back in the water usage across the country. That has meant that farmers have been urged to conserve water.
Laois IFA Chairman, Francis Gorman, told LaoisToday: “I don’t think there will be a water shortage, but I would urge farmers to conserve their water supply and make sure that they are providing their livestock with a constant supply, and only use what for necessary tasks.”
Some livestock farmers are also facing a shortage of grass for grazing as the heat has stalled grass growth.
Some farmers are now moving to feed their animals with silage that was only recently cut.
Francis Gorman said: “I think the grass has taken a small toll on some farmers, and I have been in contact with some farmers who are foddering their cattle with silage, but it is not something that is widespread.”
The Laois IFA chairman told LaoisToday that his real concern is with the farmers who have sown spring barley.
Tillage farmers are facing a severe drought in terms of the soil, and if the heatwave continues much longer it means that some tillage farmers will be facing early harvests and poor yields.
Bobby Miller, chairman of the Irish Grain Growers Group told LaoisToday: “The tillage sector will feel the effects of this extreme heat, we haven’t got a break in terms of the weather, it’s one extreme to another.
“Winter crops seem to be holding out, but I expected farmers to be harvesting their crops a week or two earlier. I have a serious fear for the spring growers, and most tillage farmers in around Laois are depending on spring barley.
“Yields are going to be well back, and that will mean their will be a big drop in the level of Irish spring barley. It’s not what those in the tillage sector want after the tough harvest last year.
“Tillage crops aren’t like grass, if grass is damaged it will eventually regrow, tillage farmers only have one chance to get their crops right.”
He also urged spring barley growers to shop around to their various merchants, with the expected shortage leading to a rise in prices.
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