Weekend weather: heavy rain and frosty nights
Unsettled weather with wet and windy spells is expected into early next week as an Atlantic flow dominates.

Patchy frost will clear on Friday morning, according to Met Éireann. Mostly cloudy today across the southern half of the country with scattered outbreaks of rain, heavy and persistent at times across southern counties, with the risk of spot flooding and local thunder.

Some bright or sunny spells across the northern half of the country though, where it should remain largely dry. Another cool day with highs of 6°C to 10°C (north to south).

Easterly breezes will be brisk at times along south and southeast coasts, and mainly moderate inland.

Met Éireann has issued a rain warning for the south coast.

Scattered outbreaks of rain early Friday night will soon become confined to the southwest, with a few showers possible in the east later.

Otherwise, a lot of dry weather with mist or fog patches, and patchy frost developing where skies stay clear. Lowest temperatures 0°C to 6°C, coldest away from southern counties. Northeast breezes will be mostly light overland.

Saturday

Much of the country will see a fully dry day Saturday with sunny spells. However, some showery rain may affect southern and eastern coastal counties, mainly appearing along coasts here.

Highest temperatures 6°C to 10°C (north to south), in a mostly light northeast breeze, which will be a little fresher along east- and south-facing coasts.

Apart from isolated showers in the east, it will be dry with clear spells, in light northeast breezes on Saturday night.

Cold and frosty in parts, with lowest temperatures -2°C to + 3°C, coldest across Atlantic counties.

Sunday

Some frost across Atlantic counties to begin on Sunday. Many areas will stay dry for the day with good sunny spells.

However, some scattered showers will occur too, with most of these feeding in across the east of Leinster. Another cold day with highest temperatures of 6°C to 10°C, in mostly light easterly breezes; winds will, however, be a little fresher along east and south facing coasts.

A frosty night will follow with lowest temperatures of -2°C to +2°C.

Monday

Another mainly dry day for a lot of the country, with sunny spells, but once again rather cool. Scattered showers will feed in on the easterly flow, with most of these affecting Leinster. Highest temperatures will range 6°C to 10°C, coldest away from southern counties. Southeast breezes will freshen after dark as a band of rain in the southwest pushes up across the country.

Tuesday

Tuesday will begin mostly cloudy, with scattered outbreaks of rain moving northeastwards. Longer drier spells too developing into the afternoon, though further rainfall will begin to feed up from the southwest after dark.

Very wet and very windy overnight with possible warnings coming into effect.

Management notes

Beef: Adam Woods takes a look at storing light animals over the winter period, keeping an eye on the stock bull and making sure slurry tanks aren't filling quickly in the yard.

Dairy: Aidan Brennan looks at teat-sealing heifers, feeding meal to weanlings and what was said at Dairy Day.

Sheep: There is renewed interest in temporary grazing with beef farmers housing cattle and wishing to clean off paddocks while tillage farmers are offering catch crops for grazing.

Tillage: Heavy recent rain and falling temperatures mean that further planting is inadvisable but there may still be some field spraying jobs to complete.

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

Read more

No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.