Weekly weather: wet and windy with sunny spells from mid-week
An episode of heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday morning will be followed by unsettled weather for the rest of the week, with little frost expected.

Monday

After a dry start in the east, Met Éireann forecasts that wet and cloudy conditions in the west and south will spread across the country through the morning and afternoon. The rain will turn heavy and persistent in Connacht and west Munster at night with a risk of spot flooding.

Top temperatures will range between 9°C and 12°C. Moderate to fresh and gusty southerly winds will increase strong in most areas through the afternoon with gales developing near Atlantic coasts.

Tuesday

Widespread heavy rain will gradually give way to clearer, brighter and more showery conditions extending from the west. Some showers will be heavy and with a risk of hail and thunder near the coasts. Afternoon high temperatures will fall to around 7°C to 9°C.

Strong to gale force and gusty southerly winds over the eastern half of the country will gradually abate through the morning, veering moderate westerly with the clearance of the rain. Night-time temperatures will drop to lows of 3°C to 7°C, with patchy frost possible in the east and north.

Wednesday

A mix of bright spells and scattered blustery showers, heaviest in Atlantic coastal counties, with a risk of hail and thunder there, will continue all day and into the night. Temperatures will be similar to Tuesday's in mostly moderate south to southwest winds, but strong and gusty near western and southern coasts.

Thursday

Another day of sunshine and showers will see the risk of hail and thunder gradually diminishing. Highs of 7°C to 10°C will remain associated with fresh to strong and gusty west to southwest winds, veering westerly in the afternoon and moderate.

Friday and weekend

Current indications for Friday suggest another spell of rain may coming from the southwest followed by showery conditions over the weekend with low pressure situated to the northwest.

Farming forecast

Rain

Rainfall has been above normal since the start of the month, especially in the southern half of the country, and this will continue this week with 40mm to 80mm forecast in the west, and 30mm elsewhere.

Drying conditions are set to remain poor and already saturated or water-logged soils are at risk of flooding from the rain forecast this week.

Temperatures

Air and soil temperatures are expected to remain 1°C or 2°C above normal, as last week, with only patchy frost at times.

Sunshine

The southeast has enjoyed close to normal sunshine values over the past two weeks, but the rest of the country was duller than average. This is expected to continue, with only intermittent sunshine this week.

Spraying

The unsettled weather will offer only limited spraying opportunities this week.

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Letter: a weather survey request

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.

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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.