‘Dry spell hasn’t done farmers or contractors any favours’

The prolonged dry spell experienced in recent weeks “hasn’t done the farming community any favours”, according to Maurice Gannon – an agricultural contractor from Keelogues, Co. Galway.

While it was initially welcomed, the dry spell has now “overshot the runway“, he added.

The drought-like conditions have resulted in restricted grass growth, depleted fodder supplies and contributed to price decreases for both cattle and sheep, he said.

With the first appreciable amount of rain in recent weeks falling on Sunday (July 15), the contracting fleet is currently busy at slurry and carrying out reseeding work.

We were nearly running out of work slurry-wise recently; but the rain last Sunday relaxed the whole situation and there is a bit more forecast.

“A lot of lads were waiting for the rain to come and we have been able to make some headway this week,” he said.

Running a number of tankers and two umbilical slurry spreading systems, Gannon has also purchased a new 4,000-gallon, tandem-axle tanker equipped with a shallow disc injection attachment.

The purchase was completed on the back of a lot of demand for the service, with farmers also expressing an interest in directly injecting water into the ground to encourage grass growth, the contractor told AgriLand.

Second-cut silage concerns

While there are still “odd patches” of baling going on, Gannon explained that the fleet would generally be starting into second-cut silage around this time of year; with some jobs scheduled for this weekend and into next week.

Commenting on the situation, he said: “It won’t be as heavy this year due to the weather. In a lot of cases, it has already been eaten.

Dairy men especially have been zero grazing and directly grazing ground closed for second-cut silage. The acreage of second-cut silage could be back by as much as 30% or 40% this year in my view.

“Every option is being explored in terms of getting in a later cut. Farmers will be keen to save as much fodder as possible. A lot of lads will be looking to close an extra field or two,” Gannon concluded.