Wet weather causing headache for farmers

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wet weather causing headache for farmers thumbnailwettest since 1985

WEATHER is always a hot topic amongst those in the agricultural sector with some farmers describing this summer as the wettest since 1985 .

We asked local farmers for their opinion on the matter which is causing waterlogged fields and issues with crop harvests.

Jim McCrum, manager of Rathfriland Farmers Co-Op, said: The weather is always a topic of conversation for farmers. The wet weather has certainly had a negative effect on farmers this summer; it is beginning to depress them.

I have heard that stock is having to be housed in order to keep the ground and the livestock are eating valuable food which will tell a bad tale for spring. There has been a delay in harvesting and getting the straw cut with potato growers suffering too.

Farmers rely on the weather so much and unfortunately there is very little you can do. It was a good grass year up until the end of June and what farmers really need now are six weeks of good, dry weather. It would be great to see the weather picking up now as it would help matters a great deal.

Ballyroney cattle farmer John Jardine added: It has been hard for farmers this summer especially grain farmers with barley to cut. I have six heifers in the field and I have been feeding them hay this past five weeks to try and save the grass. The damp of the early morning grass does the cattle no favours.

It has cost a lot of money moving the older cattle indoors early and feeding them on hay and meal.

I ve been having to do this for the last month and now with the cold weather coming in I ve moved my cows indoors as they are at risk of getting magnesium deficiency due to feeding their calves. However, I am an optimist and I hope the weather picks up again before the winter months. I believe things always balance themselves out so I remain hopeful.

With these added pressures facing farmers it comes as no surprise that there will be extra stress thrown into the mix with the cut off date for slurry spraying set at 15 October.

Commenting on the pressure facing farmers, Rathfriland man Barclay Bell, President of the Ulster Farmers Union told The Outlook: It is noticeable across the board for all types of farming and things would need to pick up.

The third cut of grass is due soon and there is definite pressure on all sides. I have noticed a lot of straw and grain still sitting in fields and this will of course increase the prices on the back of this.

At this time of the year you would expect to see spuds being dug up but I have yet to see any yet. The problem always is that you re farming to a date and because of this pressure it is vitally important to remind all farmers about farm safety.

I urge all farmers to stay safe and please do not be rushing when operating farm machinery as we are talking about life and death here.

I would also like to remind farmers of the importance of documenting the measures which they are currently taking due to the wet weather. Take photographs and record all your evidence as it may be useful in the future.

Information can be found from the Health and Safety Executive about farm safety issues, the Stop and Think SAFE farm strategy campaign and the Farm Safety Partnership online on at: and from the Ulster Farmers Union by contacting 028 9037 0322.


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