BY JACKIE KEOGH
HEAVY rainfall and saturated ground conditions have delayed silage cutting, according to the chairman of West Cork IFA, Corney Buckley.
Mr Buckley said the heavy rainfall last Friday night and Saturday morning caused a lot of surface water flooding in the greater Skibbereen area.
Council records show that there was 28mm of rainfall on Wednesday, followed by 40.4 mm of rainfall on Friday night and Saturday morning.
Mr Buckley said the wet conditions are making it difficult for farmers to harvest due to the ground conditions and the fact that the crop is wetter and heavier than normal.
The chairman said farmers are also experiencing difficulties with grassland management because the ground is so saturated.
He also said: ‘The heavy rain has made the grass unpalatable. It is difficult and mucky to graze, which means that the grass is not being fully utilised.’
Mr Buckley said farmers in West Cork, as well as farmers all along the western seaboard, were badly affected when the heavy rainfall meant a poor cereal harvest last September.
‘It was discouraging then, and it is discouraging now, for farmers to be looking out at wet lands, especially at this time of year when we should have better weather because this is a busy time on farms with silage and grazing.’
Aerial photographs of flooding in Skibbereen’s town centre, which were taken at lunchtime on Saturday, show how work is progressing on the town’s flood defence system.
Brendan Minihane, the engineer whose job it is to liaise with Cork County Council, the community, and the contractor, said they commissioned a drone video because ‘we wanted to get a feel for how the water is flowing and to see if there are any issues arising, which thankfully there are not.
‘To some,’ the engineer said, ‘it might look like the surface water was greater than usual, but that is only because you normally would not see so much water when you are looking at it at eye level.
‘The images are what we would have expected given that the flood defence systems are not finalised, but we did notice some improvements, some additional protection, in areas such as the GAA pitch.
‘On Friday and Saturday, the surface water came out in the usual places, so it is what we would have expected to see at this stage.’
Work on the Skibbereen Flood Relief project started in August 2016 and it about 30% complete, with the finish date not due until 2019.