I have often wondered what we would do if we did not have the weather to talk about.
It seems to form an integral part of the day-to-day conversation in Ireland. Ken Ring, the New Zealand-based weather forecaster, has certainly been a part of many of these conversations. Last March he forecast the weather for Ireland with startling accuracy.
I for one was glad of his prediction that the latter half of September would be dry, as this allowed us to finish combining and complete the cultivations and drilling before the rain made up for its short respite. This too was predicted during the summer; then again it is the time of the year for it.
Thankfully the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has allowed derogation on the green cover rule. Farmers can now begin to plough for spring crops on 1 December without the need to establish a green cover. This will certainly help to spread the workload if it is dry enough to plough.
All too often the spring begins wet and, when it does dry out, ploughing and sowing must take place in a short space of time, placing increasing strain on men and the machinery.
Tractorcades were the order of the month in October to help highlight the diminishing returns from farming, and 350 tractors travelled through my town of Enniscorthy to help highlight the plight of farmers to the general public.
This was mirrored by similar protests across Ireland. Every rural town here is dependent on agriculture; the income collapse being experienced by farmers will lead to significant downturn in business across the rural economy.
The dairy sector has recently seen a small increase in the milk prices. Hopefully these increases will materialise across all sectors and improve the fortunes of our industry.
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