The burning issues for farmers as temperatures soar

A Status Orange forest fire warning has been issued by the Department of Agriculture and will be in force until Friday.

And, Irish Water has advised conserving water for “essential use” at home and on the farm as temperatures soar to 30C across the country.

In Cork, demand for drinking water has increased by 25% on many supplies and this extra demand, combined with high temperatures and falling water source levels, is becoming unsustainable.

Nationally, while the majority of supplies are not in drought or at risk of drought, conservation appeals have been made in Kerry, Limerick, and Donegal, with nighttime restrictions in place in Enniscorthy, Portlaoise, and a small area of Longford to ensure daytime supplies for all.

Harvest 

The Irish Grain Growers Association said the current spell of warm weather has allowed the winter barley harvest to get well underway but warned that the impact of the heat on other crops “remains to be seen”.

It also has concerns around the risk of fire in the coming days and is advising farmers to be prepared.

“It is ideal harvesting weather where long days of harvesting are possible with the main concern being potential fire risks,” its chairman, Bobby Miller added.

“Farmers should have a plan in place for such events.

“Fire extinguishers need to be checked on a regular basis.

“Grain quality overall is very good with yields above average and thankfully prices are firming at present.

“Straw demand is brisk with excellent quality.

“The impact of the heat on other crops remains to be seen at this point.

“It’s bringing forward the harvesting dates which could impact on yield, especially the spring crops.” 

Met Eireann

Met Eireann, meanwhile, has warned of heat stress on cattle and indicated that the dry conditions will offer “excellent spraying opportunities” in most areas up to Friday.

It also said that soils have positive soil moisture deficits, ranging from around 20mm in parts of Connacht to above 60mm in parts of the east.

Over the coming week, it added, soil moisture deficits will increase further, which may bring some restrictions to growth.

“Orange and Yellow high-temperature warnings are in operation until Friday,” said a spokeswoman.

“Heat stress on animals should be a consideration.

“At present forecasted rainfall accumulations over the coming week are still well below average nationwide.

“An Orange forest fire danger rating is also in operation with a high fire risk deemed to exist in all areas.

“This risk phase is expected to peak on Friday, July 23.

“Winter Oats are on the verge of harvesting and current heat should not impact on yield.”

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