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From the editor: There is always help if weather casts too much of a dark cloud

This really has been the winter of discontent for agriculture as the bad weather kept coming and pushed spring into the not so long grass.


Ben   Briggs

Ben   Briggs

Whatever sector you are in you will have felt the pain of the poor weather and the impact it is having on spring lambing, calving or field work.

 

There are currently reports emerging that the prolonged period of cold and damp weather at the back end of last year is having a terrible impact on ewe fertility and lamb survival rates in the national sheep flock, such was the lack of available nutrients at key times in the tupping and gestation periods.

 

And, as with everything in agriculture, the bad weather does not exist in isolation.

 

The pressure it exerts on some hard pressed farmers can easily add to their financial woes and that can manifest itself, in some cases, in additional physical and mental strain.


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The horrendous toll the bad weather can place on people’s mental wellbeing is something we all need to be aware, especially as many would have expected the longer days to coincide with better weather.

 

As brave Irish farmer Peter Hynes articulates in this week’s Beyond the Farm Gate, it is one thing to know there is a problem with your health, but another thing to reach out for help.

 

Thankfully, there are a range or organisatons which can lend a hand and, on the fodder front alone, there is Forage Aid, which is on the look out for new regional coordinators and hauliers.

 

It may be a call of last resort, yet the job it has done since the spring snow storms of 2013 is commendable. If you are sat on surplus straw or silage and can help the charity out then please get in touch.

 

The weather will eventually turn and warmth return, even if that feels a long way away at the moment, but until then there are a host of organisations such as Farming Community Network and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution which can provide support if times seem too tough.

 

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