Despite brighter spells towards the end of the week, better temperatures are due to slip away again bringing mixed weather and rain.
Milder temperatures have brought some light relief but farmers struggling with the harsh spring weather have been reminded help is at hand.
Serious shortages of fodder prompted dairy processors in the Republic of Ireland to turn to mainland UK for ‘essential’ feed top ups with local TDs calling on Minister of Agriculture Michael Creed to urgently step in.
One farmer had reportedly phoned the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for support after a lack of credit had driven him to contemplate shooting both his cows and himself.
Mr Creed said: “The message should go out from here that it is alright for farmers to put their hands up now and say they are having specific individual difficulty.”
In Scotland the ground has remained soggy with about 2mm of rain each night since Monday evening (April 16) leaving previously soaked fields still not fit for field work.
And while the Black Isle and Easter Ross have made some progress on spring barley, local farmers suggested only about 5 per cent had been sown in central Scotland and Aberdeenshire.
It came as Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing announced a £250,000 fund package following the uplift and disposal of dead sheep and cattle and severe feed and fodder shortages.
Farmers Weather expert Dr Simon Keeling said below average temperatures from early March were beginning to lift, with a boost later this week welcoming 27degC in south east England and 20 to 24degC more widely.
“Indications are that the better temperatures slip away again next week, although only to close to average levels,” he said.
“We are suggesting that things gradually turn a bit more mixed as next week progresses; most rain in Scotland but staying mostly dry in the southern half of the UK.”
According to the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group, the milder weather is also set to bring a heightened risk of nematodirus to February and March-born lambs grazing fields which carried lambs last Spring.
Lesley Stubbings of SCOPS said: “The rapid change from the relatively cold weather of March and early April to the forecast for the second half of April means a mass hatch of over-wintered nematodirus larvae is highly likely in some areas.”
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