Met Éireann has issued a status yellow potato-blight warning for parts of Munster early this week.
“Weather conditions conducive to the spread of potato blight in early-sown crops will develop in parts of Munster from Tuesday night through to Wednesday night,” according to the national meteorological service.
There will be opportunities for spraying during the remainder of today (Sunday, May 30), Monday and Tuesday, with generally dry conditions and light to moderate breezes.
Spraying opportunities will become more limited towards midweek as spells of rain develop.
According to Teagasc, the primary potato disease remains Phytophthora infestans (late blight), it is responsible for €1,000,000,000 of annual losses in the EU alone. In Ireland, it is estimated that €5m is spent annually on fungicides to mitigate the impacts of the disease, which represents between 15-20 fungicide applications per season.
According to Met Éireann’s farming-weather update, the majority of soils are currently below their saturation levels; however, some poorly drained soils are saturated or waterlogged.
“Field conditions will worsen during the week with some moderately or well drained soils also reaching saturation in rainfall from midweek, particularly in Munster and Connacht.
“Early indications suggest field trafficability may improve somewhat again next weekend, however some poorly drained soils will likely remain waterlogged.”
While the sun is shining across the country today, sunshine amounts over the past week have, generally, been average, according to Met Éireann.
Western counties saw the most sunshine with over 56 hours recorded in Mayo (140% the average).
“The dullest conditions were along the south coast, with around 37 hours of sunshine recorded, just below average.
“With changeable weather conditions expected over the coming seven days, sunshine totals will likely be average or above for the eastern half of the country, but the west will likely see below average sunshine.”
Over the coming week, most places will have average or slightly below average rainfall with 10-20mm expected, driest in the east.
The west will likely have wetter than normal conditions with 20-40mm expected here, higher in mountainous regions, near twice the average for the time of year.
The bulk of this expected rainfall will occur from Wednesday onwards.
In general, the southern half of the country has experienced wetter than average conditions over the past seven days, with rainfall totals ranging between 150-300% the average.
Cork recorded the highest rainfall amounts with 46mm recorded there, but generally totals ranged between 20-40mm over the southern half of the country.
Conditions were increasingly drier further north, with north Donegal recording half the average rainfall for the time of year with around 8mm recorded there.
Drying conditions will be good for Monday with dry weather, sunny spells, temperatures generally in the high teens or low 20s, and a moderate breeze.
Drying conditions will gradually deteriorate on Tuesday in the western half of the country as showers or spells of rain develop, but good drying conditions will continue further east.
Further spells of rain across the country and slightly cooler temperatures from Wednesday onwards will result in poor drying for the latter half of the week.
Source: Met Éireann.