Warm weather threatens farm income

The temperature is going to rise to the mid-20s again this weekend amid warnings that the ongoing dry and warm conditions will have significant consequences for farmers.

 

The Irish Meteorological Service, Met Éireann Forecast predicts that the temperatures will be rather warm over the bank holiday weekend as high pressure is moving up across the country. It also predicts that though some rain is expected early on Friday and in parts on Monday, conditions will be generally dry and calm with good sunshine at times.

 

Though the outlook is good for the various festivals and events taking place across the country this weekend, famers are counting the cost of the prolonged drought on this year. As part of their mid-year outlook, Teagasc economists have analysed the potential consequences of the year’s unusual weather patterns. If a long winter was followed by an abnormal spring rainfall pattern, the weather was followed by summer drought conditions and unusually high temperatures.

 

Teagasc warned, “Overall, farm income will be down substantially across all the main farm system in 2018. Dairy farmers will experience the largest income reductions.” While much will depend on grass growing conditions over the rest of the season, it is likely that incomes on dairy farms in 2018 will typically be only half of 2017.

 

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmer’s Association’s suckler chairman John Halley has said that it is increasingly likely that a targeted aid package for farmers who are suffering from the drought will be considered. He added, “Breeding farms have a bigger challenge than trading farms when it comes to a fodder crisis because the impact of selling breeding cows is to destroy a lifetime’s work.” If the weather keeps in a warm condition, the situation may even worse. But the situation can be rescued on many farms if sufficient rain falls in the coming weeks.

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Chloe Li

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