When the fine weather came, it was truly beautiful. The whitethorn hedges and trees were snow white magnificent. Tim had to go out to Mallow to the Co-op Superstore. I jumped at the chance of going with him, as I had vouchers that needed spending and I’d decided on getting a new set of patio furniture. The old timber set has become dangerous and needs decommissioning. Our children gave it to us for our 25th wedding anniversary so it owes us nothing. On the way, we admired the whitethorn. Some were turning pink as they faded. We noted that there were actual pink ones too.

On arrival, I set out to find my furniture. Alas, the set I wanted wasn’t there. One of the girls went off to enquire. She had to call the manager. There was one in Raheen and one in Carrigaline. Neither were my area for delivery. Pat Daly, the manager, went on the phone and in no time at all, he reported that he had one ordered into the shop and he’d have it delivered within two weeks.


Dairygold rewards its loyal customers with an annual voucher. It’s valid for three years so you can buy a bigger item by putting them together. Mallow Co-op Superstore is a fine shop packed with lots of new lines and a well-stocked garden centre. I noted this and Marie O’Riordan, who was ably assisting me, explained that its more that merchandise has once again become freely available after Brexit and COVID-19 difficulties have been addressed.

The grass and garden plants have responded to the sunshine. The old-fashioned roses with their delightful scents have bloomed. Purple and pink Alliums have filled in their circled heads. Lilies and others are queued to delight. Yet, within a week of the sunshine and high temperatures, we were back in stress zones. Grass had been powering ahead and then it slowed considerably down to a third of previous weeks.

As usual, the paddocks that had a good cover of grass continued to grow well. As soon as the paddocks are grazed or cut, grass is slow to recover. Many farmers have grass seeds in the ground and it is a critical time for them if they have already germinated. If the rain doesn’t fall, then the delicate first leaf and root will die. The job will have to be done again. We have grass seeds that were tilled in and have not germinated so they are safe in the ground but that ground continues to be out of the grazing rotation. We also have grass seeds that were stitched into heavy fields that had a good cover of dung.

This meant that there was quite a bit of trash (straw after the dung had been washed in) on top of the ground. This has offered protection to the grass and clover seeds and they are growing quite well. Rain would really drive them on. The weather apps are being studied and discussed on a daily basis but the rain keeps moving away.

Rising costs

This is the story for many farmers in our locality and the consequence is rising costs. The grass has slowed considerably so the cows are already eating the baled silage that was made only two weeks ago. Ration has also been reintroduced. It costs. The grass has to be managed even more critically when it’s scarce. The rain will come and the grass will take off again. We hope it will be soon!

The fall in milk price is on every dairy farmer’s mind, too. The margin of profit has dropped. Many farmers embarked on a lot of development on farms last year when the milk price was high. It was never going to last.

Now it is time to reassess plans and maybe even pull back or stall plans until this drought has ended. There could be another drought in July or August. Being cautious is prudent management. Of course, it all brings stress.

Meanwhile, the cows love the warm weather. They don’t mind what feed they get so long as they are sated. Each day, they are balmed out – absolutely content. This will also help conception rates during the breeding season. All cows are now being bred to Angus AI.

My fingers are crossed that the rain will come sooner rather than later.

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