With water levels remaining low in the Shannon Callows, farmers have been able to harvest a large amount of hay and silage.

High water levels have prevented farmers from saving winter fodder in recent years, with many farmers calling on the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Waterways Ireland to better manage the River Shannon.

Callows farmer and agricultural contractor Anthony Kelly told the Irish Farmers Journal that since 2012, winter fodder has been lost four times due to high water levels.

“Over the last month, we’ve been putting pressure on Waterways Ireland and the IFA to try and keep the gates opened along the Shannon. We had heavy rain and we’ve been lucky with the water staying down,” Kelly said.

\David Ruffles

“There’s a couple of thousand acres of callows land with hundreds of farmers depending on it. We lost about 3,000 bales last year alone and the farmers have to try and get the bales from somewhere else then.”

For boats and farmers

The Callows farmers have called for one body to be established which will look after the gates along the Shannon, monitoring the river level throughout the year.

“Every farmer deserves to be able to farm their land. The way Waterways Ireland is carrying on leaves nobody happy.

"We have been having meetings for the past 10 years over this and it’s a little bit disheartening on everyone now,” Kelly continued.

“Water levels could be a lot lower and it would leave it that we would have a Shannon for boats all summer and the farmers could farm their land.”