IFA President John Bryan said the ongoing wet weather is causing serious disruption to farming around the country, and adding significantly to costs as cattle remain indoors.
He said, “While some harvesting has been done, many farmers have been unable to get silage in. Ground conditions have not improved and the broken weather is set to continue into next week. Milk production is back, which could have an impact for those on seasonality schemes.”
John Bryan said, “The factories are using the bad weather to pull prices and damage confidence. The mart trade has also been impacted, mainly because of a lack of grass supply. Farmers have been forced to take cattle indoors, particularly bulls, and the cost of feeding has increased fivefold. Crop development is a critical stage for the main crops of winter wheat and spring barley. Grain farmers expect yields to drop and unless we see a dramatic improvement in the coming weeks, the impact could be greater.”
The weather damage will have a lasting and costly impact for all farmers, especially those along the River Shannon. “While farmers in every part of the country are enduring difficulties with silage harvesting and incurring extra feed costs from having to house cattle, the problems are particularly acute in the Shannon region.”
John Bryan said the poor ground conditions because of the exceptionally high levels of rainfall have been exacerbated by the gross mismanagement of the River Shannon by a number of agencies. “The political will does not appear to exist to implement a proper management system that will minimise the impact of flooding on farmland. It is unacceptable that farmers in the Shannon Catchment continue to experience unnecessary hardship year in year out.”
IFA Flood Project Team leader Michael Silke was particularly critical of Waterways Ireland, which he accused of ignoring farmers when deciding on water levels along the Shannon. “We need to see one agency overseeing a comprehensive maintenance and drainage programme that will alleviate the flooding problem. Agencies that are not accountable cannot continue to inflict difficulties on farmers.”