Bursts of heavy rain over the last month has seen grazing conditions across the country compounded with cattle housed in parts.
Farmers in West Cork recorded between 40mm and 50mm of rainfall on Tuesday, September 26.
In Bantry, some 56mm fell on the same night, bringing the September rainfall total so far to 227mm – 50mm more than was experienced in the whole month of September in 2016.
With farmers now beginning to house livestock due to the weather, attention turns to getting slurry out, winter housing and fodder availability.
The deadline for spreading slurry is October 15, however regulations prevent it being spread when there’s periods of heavy rain.
Farmers and contractors are calling for an extension to the deadline, however, given Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) review is up for debate by year end, the relevant departments will not be enamoured by farmers calls for an extension.
It brings up the debate yet again of calendar farming and how farming does not operate as so. Should the rain continue into October, cattle will remain housed and the contents of slurry tanks will continue to rise.
For the chemical fertiliser spreading deadline of September 15 many farmers were active on Twitter saying that calendar farming is unworkable. Similar tweets are expected ahead of the October 15 deadline.
Turning to housing and the advice from the Irish Farmers Journal specialists is that stale, warm air will increase the risk of pneumonia and stocking density should be as low as possible by spreading cattle out across all housing.
No farmer wants to compromise animal health, which could in turn lead to them compromising their income.
While in parts of the north and northwest of the country, fodder is likely to become an issue, in West Cork, it will more than likely be the varying quality of the fodder that will be the only stickler.
Have you done a fodder budget? Will you be comfortable for the winter months? The advice here is the sooner you complete it the better. Given the recent weather, it’s well worth thinking and planning for what you’ll have in the shed going forward.
After fodder, comes thoughts of straw and the inclement weather has affected the trade here too, with talk of straw shortages.
Sourcing straw has become an issue and unless the weather picks up for a short period of time to get straw that is still on the ground baled then there will be problems for farmers here too.
Farmers and contractors alike will be looking for a few windows of opportunity over the coming weeks to get what they can finished before the proper winter sets in.