Weekly weather: mild conditions to break for cold temperatures midweek
The start of the week will see little change as mild conditions continue but it will become cold and more unsettled from midweek onwards, with a risk of frost at night.

Monday

Rain and drizzle will develop along west and southwest coasts by early afternoon. According to Met Éireann, these showers will extend eastwards during the afternoon and early evening, but amounts will be small. Maximum temperatures 7°C to 10°C.

Tonight, will be generally mild and mostly dry with patches of drizzle. Temperatures will drop to a minimum of 3°C to 7°C and it will be coldest where any breaks in cloud occur. This is most likely in inland parts of Munster and south Leinster.

Tuesday

Conditions will continue mild and mostly dry, with a few bright spells. Overall it will be cloudy with a little mist or drizzle, mainly along Atlantic coastal countries. Maximum temperatures 8°C to 11°C.

Winds will be southerly on Tuesday night and it will remain mild and mostly dry. However, more persistent rain will develop in those Atlantic coastal counties.

Wednesday

Rain will extend gradually eastwards across the country during the morning. It will be followed by brighter conditions, with sunny spells, during the day. Showers will begin to move in from Atlantic coastal areas, becoming heavier and more frequent later, with a risk of hail, mainly along west and northwest coasts.

It will be mild at first, but it will turn gradually colder, as southerly winds veer west to northwest in direction. Maximum afternoon temperatures 6°C to 9°C degrees.

The night will be dry in most areas, with clear intervals, but scattered showers will occur, mainly along northern, western and southwestern coasts. It will be very cold, with widespread frost as minimum temperatures fall to -2°C to +2°C. It will be coldest in the eastern half of the country.

Thursday

Early indications suggest that Thursday will be mainly dry as cloud cover increases gradually. It will be very cold with maximum temperatures of 4°C to 7°C.

It will turn even colder overnight, with a risk of sharp frost where breaks in cloud occur, especially in the north. Minimum temperature of -3°C to +3°C. .

Friday

Early indications from Met Éireann suggest that it will remain quite unsettled and changeable, with a good deal of cloud and some rain or sleet at times. Still quite cold, with a risk of frost at night where breaks in cloud occur.

Farming forecast

Rain

The last few weeks have been relatively very dry across the country. The last week has seen rainfall amounts ranging between 2.2mm on the southeast coast to 16 mm on northwest coasts. This equates to between 4% and 26% of normal rainfall.

The weather will remain settled up to and including Tuesday but indications are that an active cold front will move down early on Wednesday bringing rain and introducing colder more unsettled weather.

Rainfall totals over the next week are expected to range from around 40% and 70% rising to 75% along Atlantic coasts.

Temperatures

The last few weeks have been very mild for the winter season. Over the past 14 days, mean temperatures have been between 7°C and 10°C. Most places were over degrees.

These sorts of figures are 2°C to 4°C above normal.

It will remain relatively mild up to and including Tuesday, with no significant frost at night. There are now strong indications that it will turn colder during Wednesday and overnight and will remain cold up to and over next weekend. Temperatures over the next seven days are expected to be below average.

Sunshine

While the weather has remained settled it has been quite dull. Sunshine amounts over the past week ranged between just 20% of normal on west and southwest coasts and little or no sun in some inland parts of Connacht.

Sunshine amounts will remain below normal up to and including Tuesday next, but are likely to recover a little from midweek, but still below normal.

Conditions

Drying will be variable over the next few days, but often poor or moderate at best due to a lot of cloud overall.

For spraying there will be will be few, if any opportunities.

In fields, soils are more trafficable, than normal for the time of year, due to the drier than normal conditions over the past few weeks. With the possibility of more unsettled conditions from Tuesday onwards, some soils may well deteriorate to some extent, these mainly in Atlantic coastal counties.

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.