WHEN Oliver O’Driscoll from Carrigeen in Crookstown sowed barley in Innishannon on May 15th he didn’t know that, five months later, he would be standing in the middle of a 16-acre field clutching heads of barley that have been badly blackened and flattened by the bad weather.
Bandon-based photographer, Denis Boyle, photographed Oliver O’Driscoll in the middle of the field on September 17th last and it made for a pitiful sight because, if the farmer doesn’t get at least one week of good weather, he stands to lose €10,000 on the crop.
Oliver O’Driscoll said he has had some success cutting barley elsewhere, but has fields of straw that have not been baled ‘and will not be baled’ because they are so wet.
Meanwhile, he described the field in Innishannon as being ‘particularly bad news for me because it is completely lodged from the bad weather.
‘It has been raining since the start of August, which has meant disaster for my crop because I can’t cut it. But, if we do get a good week, there is a chance that I might be able to save it.’
The farmer agreed to have his photograph taken and he agreed to be interviewed by The Southern Star because he is calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed TD, to bear witness to how bad the harvest is this year, and to do something about it.
Oliver O’Driscoll is calling on the minister to compensate tillage farmers who have been badly affected by the bad weather and heavy rainfall and to pay them for the loss of their crops. ‘It is no different,’ he added, ‘to the compensation paid to the business people whose stores were destroyed during the floods.’ According to Oliver O’Driscoll, the tillage farmers in his area – from Kilbrittain to Barryroe to Kinsale to Crookstown – have been affected. ‘I believe that Dublin has had reasonably good weather, but I hear Donegal is a wash-out.’
The farmer said he cannot afford to take a €10,000 loss on the crop and he complained that farming ‘is very tough at the moment in this type of weather.’