Rivers still badly swollen, advice to hold-off on fertiliser spreading
A further meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) to discuss the on-going severe weather was held in Dublin yesterday to discuss the threat posed by rising rivers, to review the response to date, to assess the impact of the storms on infrastructure and communities and to ensure that the response of relevant local authorities, government departments and agencies continues to be co-ordinated.
The group noted after Friday’s heavy rain there are no reports of major episodes of flooding.
Met Éireann has reiterated that the current unsettled weather is likely to continue well into next, and that there will be heavy rainfall particularly in the South, South West and South East on Sunday.
This rain will serve to top up the already near capacity of Ireland’s rivers and still poses a major risk. This risk is heightened in slow moving rivers and particularly the Shannon. The Barrow, Nore, Suir and Slaney are also at very high levels and any additional rain may cause serious flooding. There is also the possibility of stormy weather and heavy rain on Wednesday.
Each storm and severe weather warning issued by Met Eireann is monitored. In addition local authorities are on high alert are planning and making the necessary preparations for further flooding. Currently there is a orange weather warning for Munster along with counties Wexford and Galway – with winds gusting up to 130km an hour. A yellow weather warning is in place for counties Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.
According to the NECG, the local authorities are monitoring the position in relation to river levels and the group is satisfied that where these major defences are in place that they continue to provide the necessary protection.
The group highlighted that the emergency services, local authority workers, state agencies are on high alert and are making the necessary preparations.
The public have been reminded to continue to follow the weather warning and to heed the safety messages of the authorities, and noted that there have been no fatalities in the current flooding episodes.
Meanwhile, Teagasc is assisting farmers in coping with the current weather conditions. Its advisors around the country are responding to individual farmers where the difficult weather conditions have impacted severely on them.
According to Teagasc, the main issues facing farmers relate to flooding of farm land, managing slurry storage, ensuring livestock have fodder and preparing for fertilising grassland once the weather and ground conditions improve.
Storms, heavy rain and floods create additional health and safety risks and farmers need to take extra care to avoid accidents and injury during stormy periods, it added.
Teagasc has advised that on land that is flooded, or likely to flood, out-wintered stock should be moved to higher ground. Temporary flooding of planted cereal crops should not lead to significant losses, however, areas may require reseeding where there is prolonged flooding, it said.
It noted that there appears to be adequate high-quality fodder available on most farms. Where silage is fed outdoors, Teagasc said it is advisable to feed smaller amounts more often, in the current weather conditions.
Farmers are also advised to ensure that clean rain water is diverted away from slurry storage tanks.
“Storage tanks are filling up after the winter and ground conditions are not currently suitable for spreading. Slurry can be moved from full tanks to ones where there is still some capacity. When weather conditions improve there may be opportunities on drier fields, to spread small quantities. Avoid sloping fields,” it added.
In addition Dr Tom Kelly, director of knowledge transfer in Teagasc, has advised farmers to wait until weather conditions improve for the application of fertilisers. “Little or no fertiliser has been spread for early grass or for crops,” he said.
“Wait for conditions to improve to spread fertiliser, but have it ordered and in the yard so that it can be applied when the conditions and forecast are better.”
Pictured Met Éireann forecast for Sunday