The last few days have allowed for some drying in our soils, but this is from a very wet base. Pockets of the country were able to get work done – pulling beet and digging potatoes, while there were even bits and pieces ploughed and sowed with winter cereals over the weekend.

However, the situation is still bleak for winter crops and it’s not likely that winter cropping area will increase dramatically before the spring time. Rain is also due this week.

On last estimates – November 7 – AgriLand had winter cereal planting figures at 35% in some parts of the country and 80% in other areas.

The areas worst affected were counties Meath and Wexford, which were as low as 35-40%.

Soil moisture deficits

On Saturday, November 18, soil moisture deficits (SMDs) had improved somewhat. Many well and moderately-drained soils were either at field capacity or were 1-3mm away from field capacity.

Some poorly-drained soils had also come away from saturation point, but were still well above field capacity at figures from -5 to -10.

Data source: Met Éireann

This is in comparison to Wednesday of last week, November 14, when well-drained soils were at field capacity.

At the same time, all poorly-drained soils were at saturation point, while much of the moderately-drained soils were also at saturation point (-10). However, the northern part of the country looked slightly better with figures ranging from -3 to -9.

Data source: Met Éireann