In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.
Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.
“We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.
“The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”
In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.
But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.
Never before irrigated in May, two systems pumping tonight.— Julian Hughes (@JulianHughesAg) May 15, 2019
“You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.
"It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”
Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.
“We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.
“There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”