Extreme fire risk warning as continuing heatwave takes its toll on farmers

The Department of Agriculture has extended its Code Red warning for 'Extreme Fire Risk' until midday next week.

It comes as farmers around the country scramble to harvest fodder to replace stocks already depleted by the snow and floods earlier this year.

The Irish Farmers' Association's Nigel Renehan says the weather is great - but it is also making conditions very difficult out on the farm.

"We hadn't enough fodder to feed cattle at the start of the year and we've gone from having extreme wet weather to extreme dry weather and because it's so dry, the fodder that has been made - the really good, high quality fodder - but because the growth has stopped we are in a position where we are having to actually feed fodder to cattle."

The Taoiseach admits there is no plan in place to assist farmers with fodder but he says the government will deliver if a crisis arises.

Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Agriculture met with farmers in County Cork yesterday evening to assess the situation.

As the dry spell continues the Taoiseach pleaded with people to conserve water where possible.

Speaking to Cork's 96FM and C103 news he said that they are closely watching the fodder situation as it unfolds: "There aren't any plans at the moment for any particular response in relation to fodder but I know it is an issue that's emerging.

"We absolutely acknowledge the fact that there is a water shortage which means the grass is very dry, which means the grass isn't growing as fast as it ought to be at this time of year.

"If we don't have some rain in the next couple of weeks, we will get into some difficulty and the government won't be found wanting if we need to respond to that."

Meanwhile, Irish Water is encouraging people to continue to conserve water.

The National Water Conservation Order came into effect yesterday to ensure essential water usage only.

    The order means the use of water drawn through a hosepipe, or similar apparatus, is forbidden for the purpose of:

  • watering a garden
  • cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic hosepipe
  • cleaning a private leisure boat
  • filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool (except when using hand-held containers filled directly from a tap)
  • filling or maintaining a domestic pond (excluding fish ponds)
  • filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes)
  • filling or replenishing an artificial pond, lake or similar application

Digital Desk

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