Over the St Patrick’s weekend, I was a bit down in the dumps and did a lot of thinking which wasn’t very positive. I do over-thinking well. But some of it was productive.

I wasn’t in good form largely due to the ongoing wet weather and, as always, other small issues which coalesce in your head to blow everything out of proportion.

Psychologists say you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and I try not to worry about the small things but, in truth, I sweat it all – big and small.

Yes, I know and have been told a thousand times that there’s no point in fretting about the weather but that doesn’t help – I do.

Besides it’s raining since last June and St Patrick’s Day is always a marker for how much work we have (or have not) done. I’m usually edgy around this time and all the more so this year. I hate pushing work ahead.

But back to my productive thoughts, distilled in a brain sweat between 3am and 7am on the bank holiday Monday.

Realistically – and this probably qualifies for sweating big stuff – this year can’t be good for us between a reduced area of (patchy) winter crops, low grain and high fertiliser prices and overly wet fields.

So this year may be a financial disaster.

Selling 2.7t/ac of spring barley is not a way I know to make money. Beans are a better bet but we’re limited by rotation. But I try to tell myself, so what? Look at the positives; no profit means no income tax. Three cheers for that.

With this in my mind, I decided in the small hours (and now with Max’s approval) to sow 50ac of our lowest-yielding tillage land to grass and arable silage this spring.

I like some dog-and-stick farming. When grain prices pick up (and there are tentative signs of the market rising) the plough can return but I’ve still half of last year’s wheat in store.

A sound dairy farming neighbour told me in a recent chat that dairy guys should forget about a milk breakeven price of 30c/l.

With all costs up, he says, it’s now much closer to 40c/l.

It’s eating into your BISS payment quicker than terrier Billy the Bounce can devour a stolen sausage

Using a similar logic, €200/t for green grain is also a baseline. Below this – as it is now – is under the cost of production.

It’s eating into your BISS payment quicker than terrier Billy the Bounce can devour a stolen sausage.

I had no sooner written this piece but my friend Michael rang.

We had the usual chat about the local stuff like I’ve outlined but, as ever, we progress into a broader and more global view.

If the Houthis have to do target practice, wouldn’t it be better if they left the fertiliser boats alone and sunk a few grain ones? With no one on them, of course. We thought so. It’s a kinder sort of thinking than wishing a weather disaster for grain crops somewhere in the world to lift prices, as it always does.

Nothing to worry about

Anyhow, an hour later, we came to a conclusion that, in truth, we have nothing to worry about.

This awful weather won’t change my life unless I let it. Now, on the other hand, if Putin bought a dairy farm in Summerhill and was building nuclear bunkers concealed as silage bunkers, then we’d have something to worry about. But that’s unlikely – he wouldn’t get planning from Meath County Council. That’s because they’d be sweating the small stuff and fretting about farmyard runoff.

Finally, some good news from the Department of Agriculture’s forest service and one worry less.

We have approval for the new Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme to remove 6.6ha of dieback ash and replant. Happy days and thank you Department.