Ulster Farmers’ Union president Graham Furey said the Northern Ireland harvest was looking poor.

But it had not yet reached the point of no return, he added. Farming 400 acres of cereals in Killyleagh, on the shores of Strangford Lough, County Down, Mr Furey told Farmers Weekly that ground conditions had deteriorated quickly.

“Across the province there seems to be a situation where we are getting two or three fair days in the week, leading to a snatch-and-grab scenario. Harvesting is taking place regardless of the moisture,” he said.

Flood Floods

Mr Furey started harvesting on his own farm last Sunday, with barley coming in at a fraction over 21% moisture. “The situation is difficult, but it’s not a total disaster just yet,” he added.

Also affected by the weather is the quality of straw in NI. Mr Furey said ground conditions were so poor that farmers looking to conserve straw were baling straight behind the combine.

Dairy and beef farmers were having trouble getting on the land for second-cut silage, he added.

“With no chance of a decent three-day forecast, farmers are reluctant to mow grass in case they can’t get it lifted.”