Offaly farmers hit by severe weather

MAIREAD McGuinness, MEP for Offaly and Ireland East recently met Offaly farmers in Banagher recently to discuss the impact of the recent severe weather on farming.

MAIREAD McGuinness, MEP for Offaly and Ireland East recently met Offaly farmers in Banagher recently to discuss the impact of the recent severe weather on farming.

She met with Joe Parlon Chairman Offaly IFA, Connie Dolan Lusmagh Branch IFA, John Keena Vice Chairman Offaly IFA and Michael Silke River Shannon Drainage Committee.

Fintan Glynn, Lusmagh Branch IFA, Kevin Heavin Macra Young Farmer of the Year, Ferbane, Vincent Dolan Banagher IFA, Cornelius Glynn, Thomas Langtry, Connie Dolan (all Lusmagh branch) and Tom Loonam Offaly President IFA were also present.

Meanwhile, IFA National Grain Committee Chairman Noel Delany said that many growers are facing significant financial losses as the incessant wet weather continues to take its toll on crop yields despite rising prices. In excess of 500,000t in potential grain production has been lost at this stage.

Mr Delany said, “The unusually wet weather this summer has impacted negatively on grain fill and this coupled with shedding and straw breakdown has reduced crop yields by up to 40% in extreme cases.

“What had looked like the potential to be a bumper 2.6mt /2.7mt grain harvest six weeks ago could quickly turn into a salvage operation if weather does not take an immediate turn for the better. The winter barley and winter oilseed rape harvest are almost complete. However, less than 6% of the main crop i.e. spring barley (156,000 ha) and 1% of the second largest crop i.e. winter wheat crop (83,000 ha) have been harvested to date.

“Ground conditions are deteriorating rapidly with water tables at unusually high levels for the time of year. Parts of many, if not all, of some fields maybe left un-harvested at this stage as some parts of the country are receiving in excess of 200% of normal rainfall for the time of year.

“Grain farmers have made significant investment in increased harvesting capacity over the last few years and rapid progress could be made if there were to be a significant improvement in weather and soil conditions.”