83mm of rain needed in places to reach field capacity

Soil moisture levels are not expected to improve significantly over the course of the week. Soil moisture levels remain extremely low and are restricting growth in large areas of the country.

Soil moisture deficits on poorly-drained soils were at 83mm at Casement Aerodrome and 82mm in north Dublin on Tuesday, June 3. These figures were at 79mm and 80mm on well and moderately-drained soils in the same areas.

As can be seen in the charts below, from Met Éireann, parts of the midlands and south east are also badly affected. Moving to the west and north west those figures move lower, but soils are still lacking in moisture by between 53mm and 69mm.

The south of the country is least affected with soil moisture deficits (SMDs) at 32mm and 36mm.

Met Éireann is expecting less than 10mm of rain this week which it reports is unlikely to improve SMDs significantly.

Image source: Met Éireann

In areas affected badly by drought, spring crops are most likely not going to reach their potential. Disease levels are also very low and at present rainfall levels are low. As fungicides go out on barley it is important to quantify the spend.

If plant counts are low it is important to protect what is there, but to ensure that the cost does not outweigh the benefits.

Crops under stress should also be treated with care. Fungicides should be applied in cool temperatures and nutrition or bio stimulants applied where they may be of benefit.