The farmer's daily wrap: howling in Westminster and Brexit backing
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has forecast for it to be very wet and blustery across much of the country, with further spells of heavy rain and strong and gusty west to southwest winds.

A status yellow rainfall warning remains in place until 12pm on Saturday, with up to 35mm of rain expected in Connacht, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Cavan, Monaghan, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

Meanwhile, a status yellow snow-ice warning is in place until the same time in Donegal.

Afternoon temperatures will range between 3°C and 4°C in the northwest to 6°C or 7°C in the south.

Winds will become blustery northwesterly.

In the news

  • European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan made headlines on Friday at the Irish Farmers Journal Navigating Global Trade conference, when he said the Commission would protect farmers from UK tariffs and said that Ireland can ignore 99% of the howling in Westminster in relation to Brexit.
  • The board of Aurivo met on Friday afternoon to set a price for February milk.

  • As part of the next tranche of TAMS, €10m worth of grants will be available to all farmers for solar PV installation and LED lighting.
  • The 15 March deadline set by Boortmalt for malting barley growers to avail of their current price contract is not the deadline for the offer, IFA grain committee chair Mark Browne has stated.
  • Mayo farmer Seán Clarke has been re-elected as chair of ifac.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Top five beef tips.
    ICSA protests low lamb prices in Co Wexford
    The organisation is opposing 'savage price cuts' outside the Irish Country Meats factory this Monday.

    The ICSA's sheep committee is mounting a protest outside ICM Camolin in Co Wexford this Monday morning, against falling lamb prices .

    “It costs a lot of money to rear these lambs and we need to be getting a minimum of €7/kg to make it viable. Right now, prices have gone well below the €6/kg mark, plus we’re getting hammered by weight limits,” said the organisation's sheep chair Sean McNamara.

    He accused factories of importing lamb into the Republic to depresse prices, despite strong trade in the UK.

    EID was supposed to help, but all that has done is increase costs

    "EID was supposed to help, but all that has done is increase costs for us while factories and marts drag their heals on installing the necessary readers," McNamara said. He added that new export markets so far had not delivered money for the primary producers.

    “There is no way sheep farmers can bear these sorts of price cuts and if they continue, most of us will not be able to stay going. Our produce has been rendered virtually worthless; we might as well be giving it away for free,” he said.

    Read more

    Sheep Trends: bruising week for sheep farmers

    Sheep Watch: factories inflict €7 to €10 price cuts

    Weekly weather: unsettled with best sunshine on Monday and Tuesday
    Met Éireann is forecasting a mix of sunny spells and showers all week, with temperatures declining from Wednesday but staying close to seasonal averages.

    Monday

    After a dry and sunny start, scattered showers in the northwest will become more widespread, except in Munster and parts of south Leinster, where they will remain isolated. Top temperatures of 12-16°C will reach 17°C in parts of Munster, before falling to 3-5°C at night. Winds will be light, mainly northerly.

    Tuesday

    A similar mix of sunny spells and scattered showers, again more frequent in the east, will come with warmer temperatures of 13-18°C, lower in the north and north-east. Winds will be light and variable. Overnight temperatures will fall to between 5°c and 7°C.

    Wednesday

    Wednesday will start largely dry, but there will be showers over Ulster in the morning. Rain will then move in from the west, becoming widespread and persistent overnight. Temperatures will range from 13-15°C as light winds veer from northerly to southerly.

    Thursday and later

    After a showery day on Thursday with normal temperatures, the outlook for the end of the week is for continued unsettled weather. A northerly wind will come with temperatures slightly lower than usual.

    Farming forecast

    Rain and soil condition

    The east and south of the country is forecast to receive 5mm to 10mm in the coming week, and Atlantic coastal areas 15mm to 20mm. Most areas are expected to remain drier than normal, which was already the case last week.

    Soil moisture deficits are above 40mm over parts of Munster and Connacht. Elsewhere soil moisture deficits are around 20mm to 30mm.

    Temperatures

    After a warmer than normal week, temperatures are forecast to stay close to average in the coming days. Grass frost is possible in some sheltered areas on Monday night but the risk is lower from Tuesday.

    Sunshine and drying conditions

    With higher than average sunshine expected in the coming week, drying conditions will be good on Monday and Tuesday, especially in Munster and Connacht, but this will vary with showers and spells of rain.

    Spraying

    Monday and Tuesday will offer the best spraying conditions.

    Read more

    Watch: new Irish Farmers Journal live weather page launched

    This week in photos: the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit
    Our top photos from the last week include marts in Birr and Tuam, along with suckler farming in Co Tipperary.

    Sheep sale at Tuam Mart

    Nine-year-old Darren Mangan from Tuam keeping an eye on auctioneer Pat Burke during the sheep sale at Tuam Mart. \ Brian Farrell

    Sean Myers putting in a bid to auctioneer Pat Burke. \ Brian Farrell

    An overview of the weekly sheep sale at Tuam Mart. \ Brian Farrell

    Ollie Treacy moving bullocks

    Beef farmer Ollie Treacy moving his herd of bullocks to fresh grass in Lisnagower, Co Tipperary. Ollie buys in weanlings and carries them through beef, finishing them on grass. \ Philip Doyle

    Monday's cattle sale at Birr Mart

    Liam Feighery bringing his cattle into Birr Mart prior to the weekly sale. Philip Doyle

    Irish Farmers Journal's Beef Summit

    Irish Farmers Journal beef and suckler editor Adam Woods, Irish Farmers Journal markets intelligence specialist Phelim O’Neill, the ICBF’s Andrew Cromie, Meat Industry Ireland’s Cormac Healy and UCD’s Prof Michael Wallace get the first panel of the Beef Summit under way at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. \ Dave Ruffles

    Teagasc director Gerry Boyle, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Brendan Gleeson of the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy at the Beef Summit. \ Dave Ruffles

    Minister Michael Creed. \ David Ruffles

    Minister Creed in conversation with Hannah Quinn-Mulligan of the Irish Farmers Journal \ Dave Ruffles