Pig farmers have been warned there is “no room whatsoever” for complacency in relation to the spread of African swine fever west across Europe, a condition which could wipe out Ireland’s entire pig stock if it entered the country. The condition is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. It can result in devastating losses for pig farmers and the pig industry.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a Condition Orange forest fire danger warning. The warning is valid from today, Monday, May 13, at 12:00pm until Friday, May 17, at 12:00pm. According to a statement from the department, the warning comes as a result of current high pressure easterly weather conditions that are forecast over the coming week.
Farmers have been warned to be vigilant after a bad dog attack left nine sheep dead with a further three needing to be put down due to injuries earlier this week. Issuing the warning, Northern Ireland based veterinary practice Orchard Veterinary Centre Armagh explained through social media the incident that had occurred near the village of Keady in Co. Armagh.
Farmers are facing a 20pc yield loss in maize and severely disrupted harvesting conditions after Storm Ali battered the crop across the northern half of the country. Maize crops in the northeast were worst hit, with over 60pc of crops lodged or badly tossed in counties Meath and Louth. Brendan Lynch from Ardee said 130ac of his 200ac of maize had been flattened by the storm.
Ireland is in the midst of one of its largest E. coli O157 outbreaks ever, with hundreds having been infected. Alan Reilly, former chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, told that he wants to draw the attention of the public and government to the problem so something will be done about it. “You have to ask why [the increase] is happening.
The heat has somewhat subsided in Europe this last week but it is still incredibly dry, even Ireland which is famously cold and wet, is suffering from the drought conditions, it didn't rain at all in June and July and although August has seen some short showers in the north and west of the country the east has remained mostly dry. Justin Leonard from Jackie Leonard & Sons, based in Dublin, said the temperatures in Ireland have been extremely warm, up to 25 degrees.
Potato farmers have been struggling to deal with drought conditions and high crop losses are expected. As drought conditions continue, Teagasc has estimated that up to 20% of potato crops could be lost in some parts of the country. The lack of rain has halted growth in regions and fears are growing that losses could be greater than 20% in some regions as only a quarter of the crop has been irrigated.
Irish consumers will face rising potato prices as the weather causes havoc with this year’s crop. A combination of the snow and blizzard-like conditions in February and March, the ongoing heatwave and a lack of rain will seriously affect crop yields. Eddie Doyle, of the potato committee of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), told the Irish Independent that potatoes had to be planted late this year.
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