While the water has subsided to a large extent, the damage done by the incessant rain is becoming more apparent.
We had waited patiently for the best possible conditions for the last field of winter barley.
We even sowed some wheat to give the field every chance and when we got round to sowing, it was close to perfect. But it is clear now that the well-tilled ground acted as a sponge in absorbing the moisture as it fell.
I had never seen significant wet patches in that field until this autumn. I didn’t draw much consolation from Met Éireann’s announcement that it had been the wettest October on record, but at least it put things in context.
The excess moisture seemed to have delayed emergence in most of the affected areas rather than actually drowned the seeds completely, but there will be some patches with no crop. We will now simply wait until we have a dry spell and depending when that is, we will have to decide whether to finish off some headlands and a small field with winter wheat or spring barley.
On the cattle side, we are well and truly into winter with full feeding and just finishing off grazing some heavy covers. Recently, we had our first death of a bullock in over two years.
He had developed blindness and digestive problems and it was clear that despite us and our vet doing all we could, that he was not going to make it.
The tanks were pretty empty and we got them out, but it was a nightmare not to be repeated
Mortality in our bull beef system was always around 2% to 3%, and I found it one of the most demoralising aspects of the bull system.
The dairy beef stock have that intrinsic hardiness and survival instinct.
Last week, I mentioned replacing our internal agitation points in the slatted houses.
I was strongly advised to reconsider placing them outside in line with modern practice.
I got advice and between the cost and difficulty of taking out the reinforced concrete wall of the old tanks and rebuilding, we reluctantly decided it was not practical, so we are going ahead with the original replacement option.
It’s a slow process calling for precision and attention to detail, but the new units look sturdy and safe, so let’s hope we are spared the experience of a few years ago when about six cattle slipped in though the old trapdoors.
Luckily, it was early in the season – the tanks were pretty empty and we got them out, but it was a nightmare not to be repeated.