Weekend weather: temperatures to keep rising
Sunshine and temperatures rising into the twenties in all areas by the end of the weekend will extend the window of opportunity for field work on farms.

After a mild night with scattered showers this Friday, Saturday will be another warm day with highest temperatures between 17°C and 22°C.

Met Éireann is forecasting a mostly dry day with a mix of cloud and hazy sunshine, but showers will linger along Atlantic coasts in the morning and move in from the Irish Sea in the east in the evening.

It will be mild and more humid on Saturday night, with some showers becoming heavy and thunder, especially in the southern half of the country.

Temperatures are expected to rise another notch on Sunday, ranging from 18°C to 23°C and warmest in the centre and north. Some early showers will die out during the day before returning to the east at night, with a risk of thunder.

The outlook for early next week is for temperatures to increase further into the low to mid-twenties in dry, sunny weather with occasional thundery showers, mostly in the south.

Management notes

For tillage farmers, the improvement in weather conditions means that virtually all cereal planting is complete, but attention turns to crop protection with aphids evident on spring crops and septoria on winter wheat canoplies.

Grass growth has shot up on some sheep farms, but others are still struggling with supplies. Darren Carty has advice for either situation.

The weather means dairy farmers can turn their attention to silage cutting and reseeding. Aidan Brennan has tips to deal with the aftermath of the difficult spring when tackling these jobs.

On beef farms, bulls targeting a 16-month finish are coming close to slaughter and Adam Woods looks at the important last stretch before they hit the factory, while warning of the risk of unwanted pregnancies in weanling heifers.

Two injured in under-age tractor driving incident
Police in Northern Ireland said two juveniles were injured in an incident with a tractor driven by a third one.

The PSNI's Cookstown unit said on its Facebook page that it joined two ambulances and paramedics at the scene in Coagh, Co Tyrone this Sunday.

"Two juveniles fell from a tractor being driven by a third juvenile," police said. "Both sustained injuries significant enough that they required transfer by ambulance to hospital. The tractor should not have been on the road and should not have been carrying passengers."

Officers have prepared a file for the Public Prosecution Service against the driver for "a range of offences," adding that the incident "could have been a lot worse".

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Repeat of forgotten farmers blunder may be avoided in new CAP
There may be a chance to support the so-called forgotten farmers who were excluded by the rules of young farmers' schemes in the past, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has indicated.

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue asked Minister Creed this week "his views on whether young farmers who are under 40 years of age but that have been farming for more than five years and that are not permitted to access measures currently under Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, including being able to apply for the national reserve and for top-up entitlements will be eligible in the new CAP".

It appears that there will be some member state discretion in configuring the necessary supports

His question was connected to a proposed rule allowing each European country to define what is a young farmer after 2020.

Minister Creed said that while increased support for young farmers in the proposed structure for the next CAP applies to trained "young farmers who have newly set up a holding for the first time" or become head of the farm for the first time, "it appears that there will be some member state discretion in configuring the necessary supports".

This could avoid a repeat of the anomaly that has seen around 2,000 farmers miss out on current schemes.

Consultation

On these and other questions relating to the CAP after 2020, the minster said he would open a new public consultation next month now that the European Commission has published its initial proposal. "Ultimately the shape of the regulations will be determined by engagement with the Commission, member states the European Parliament, but I am anxious that Irish citizens have an opportunity to have their voices heard in the process," Minister Creed said.

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