Weekend weather: heavy rain and frost in store
There is a mixed bag of weather ahead this weekend, with heavy rain and frosty weather in store.

Frost across parts of the northeast and east early this morning will gradually clear as winds begin to freshen.

It will become windy through the day, with Met Éireann forecasting strong and gusty southeasterly winds to develop.

It will be mainly dry at first, with variable cloud cover across Ireland. Brightest skies likely further east.

Rain and drizzle will move into west and southwest coastal areas later on Friday morning, turning heavier in the afternoon and extending into remaining parts of Munster and Connacht.

A status yellow rainfall warning is in place for Munster, Galway, Mayo and Sligo from 3pm on Friday until 3pm on Saturday.

Falls of 30 to 50mm are expected and spot flooding is likely. It will remain dry across many other areas until after dark.

On Friday night, a spell of heavy persistent rain will continue to move eastwards in the evening and early on in the night, with the ongoing risk of spot flooding and surface water, especially across the southwest and west.

It will still be rather windy in fresh and gusty southeast winds. There will be low cloud and mist in parts too. Friday night will be frost free with lowest temperatures ranging 5°C to 8°C.

Saturday

There will be a wet start on Saturday across much of Ulster and Leinster, with further outbreaks of rain.

The rain will tend to become confined to eastern areas later in the day, but rather persistent here with local spot flooding and fresh onshore winds.

Elsewhere, it should become largely dry with some brighter spells, though mist and fog patches will persist locally with slacker winds.

Highest temperatures will range between 6°C and 10°C, coolest in the damp/wet weather across the north and east.

A dry night is forecast overnight, with misty or even foggy conditions setting in, all in near calm conditions.

There will be frost in parts too and lowest temperatures will range between -1°C to + 3°C, coldest and probably clearest in the west and southwest.

Sunday

On Sunday, any overnight frost or fog should clear by mid-morning as southerly winds increase moderate in strength.

Most of the country will see a dry day, but becoming rather breezy too with limited amounts of sunshine generally.

Later in the day, active weather systems will begin to encroach form the north Atlantic. Rain will arrive into the northwest and west by evening, extending countrywide after dark with some heavy falls expected.

Highest temperatures ahead of that will range between 7°C and 11°C, coolest across the eastern half of Ireland.

Management notes

Beef

In this week’s beef management notes, Adam Woods looks at liver fluke, rumen fluke and lice.

Dairy

In the dairy notes, Aidan Brennan looks at going chlorine-free and preparing for calving.

Sheep

Meanwhile, Darren Carthy examines the Schmallenberg virus, the Sheep Welfare Scheme and biosecurity when fostering lambs.

Tillage

In the tillage section, Andy Doyle looks at the cold spell, slugs and uncut straw and the impact they will have for tillage farmers.

This week in photos: New Ross and Newport Marts
Our top farming photos from the last week include harvesting and hay-making.

Front page photo: Bales in Co Kildare

Hundreds of bales on the Kelly family farm in Athy, Co Kildare. Conor Kelly has been tasked with moving these bales. The family also grows gluten-free oats, rapeseed and wheat. \ Claire-Jeanne Nash

Haymaking in Co Cavan

Charlie Reburn and Peter McGorry in Corraneary, Co Cavan, raking and baling hay for JMC agri contractors. \ Philip Doyle

My Farming Week in Co Kilkenny

Brothers Tom and Jim Murphy in Fiddown, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny. The brothers are currently switching the farm from beef to dairy and hope to begin milking in 2019.

Winter barley harvesting in Co Kildare

Park Avenue Farm in Boley, Co Kildare, is a family run farm and grain stores. The Kellys run a tillage, sheep and beef enterprise. Michael and his three brothers, Jerry, John and Jimmy, work together on the farm. Michael’s son and daughter, David and Clodagh, are currently studying ag Science in UCD. \ Philip Doyle

Grubbing beet in Co Wexford

Ciaran Lancaster grubbing beet in Ballybeg, Fernes, Co Wexford. He is contracting for tillage and beef farmer Pat Rourke. Ciaran explains that beet holds up well in drought, needing little water. \ Philip Doyle

Harvesting in Co Carlow

Joe Walsh harvesting winter barley in Ballybar, Co Carlow. He is harvesting a Bazooka six-row highbred with a moisture content of 15.5%, which was sown in the last week of October 2017. \ Philip Doyle

Newport Mart

Liam Philips from Killoscully, Jimmy Kennedy from Silvermines and Francis Ryan from Birdhill, at the sheep sale in Newport Mart, Co Tipperary. \ Mike Hoare

PJ Fogarty, Ruth Minihan and Baden Powell, all form Newport, and Liam Shanahan form Broadford, Co Clare, at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

John and Dolores deCourcy from Limerick at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

Liam Shanahan from Kilbane, Co Clare with Jack and Mary Berkery from Rearcross at Newport Mart. \ Mike Hoare

New Ross Mart

Cattle in the ring at Monday's sale in New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

Kevin Barry, Ann Furlong and Michael Cody at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

Anthony Ryan and Richard Kirwan from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

Eyes on the ring at the weekly sale at New Ross mart. \ Mary Browne

Read more

This week in photos: Loughrea Mart and winter barley harvesting

Around the country in pictures

This week in photos: BEEF 2018 and wholecrop harvest

Tests for residues and illegal medicines shows 99.7% compliance
The Department of Agriculture released the results of testing carried out under the National Residue Control Plan (NRCP) in 2017 on Sunday.

The overall rate of compliance with the NRCP stands at 99.7%. The NRCP covers testing for banned substances, approved veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants.

18,513 samples were tested in 2017, taken across all 8 food producing species (bovine, ovine, porcine, equine, poultry, farmed game, wild game and aquaculture) as well as milk, eggs and honey. Most samples are taken in accordance with criteria designed to target animals or products that are more likely to contain illegal residues.

Risk

The Department said that this high level of compliance has been consistent going back to 2013.

Just 51 samples were non-compliant and of these the majority related to residues of authorised medicines. Risk evaluations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland were carried out in response to each result and it was found that there was no unacceptable food safety risk to consumers. In these circumstances, none required a recall of products from the market. In all cases where positive results were found, a follow up investigation takes place at the farm of origin. Results from the extensive testing under the NRCP in 2017 indicated the absence of illegal administration of banned growth promoting hormones and other banned substances to food-producing animals in Ireland.

Read more

Illegal slaughterhouse posed 'danger to public health'