Supporting Farming

Eight months of rainfall takes its toll on farming

WE’VE endured one of our wettest eight-month periods of weather since records began, according to figures taken from the Athenry, Met Éireann rainfall statistics.

From July, 2023 to February, 2024 (inclusive), the rainfall total for the Athenry station came in at just over 1,249mms (49.2 inches) as compared to the long-term average (LTA) of 870.8mms (34.3 inches) for the same period.

That’s an excess of over 378mms (nearly 15 inches) on the long term average with six out of the last eight months being significantly wetter than the LTA – November and  January were exceptions to the trend.

Of those eight months, last July was the wettest of all (224.1mms/8.8 inches) followed by December (202.9mms/8 inches); October (179.9mms/7 inches); and then February of this year (159.1mms/6.3 inches) over its 29-days.

The pummeling of rain has left fields across Galway and the West of Ireland either saturated or waterlogged with rivers, streams and lakes also swollen with the downpours.

Newport in West Mayo was the wettest place in Ireland during the month of February with 197.5mms (7.8 inches) of rainfall while Knock was the coldest spot in the country with the lowest mean temperature for the month of 6.4° Celsius.

Overall though, February was a warmer month than average across the country with the mean temperature between 1.4°C to 2.5°C above the norm, according to the Met Éireann monthly report.

Abbeyknockmoy weather recorder, Brendan Geraghty, collected 5.85 inches (nearly 150mms.) of rainfall in his gauge in February with heavy falls on the 5th (0.75 inches), 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th and 28th (0.53 inches).

“We had only two small dry windows of weather in February – the first two days of the month and then from Friday the 23rd to the 27th. Overall, it was a very wet month.

“What we’re all hoping for now is a reversal of what happened last year when we had a very dry February and then a really wet March (7.66 inches/195mms). A lot of farmers too are under pressure with slurry tanks nearly full.

“For farmers, gardeners and for those looking after sports pitches, a dry March would be a great help and especially so with the days getting longer and the sun that bit higher in the sky. We’ve really got some soaking since the end of last June,” said Brendan Geraghty.

Pictured: Brendan Geraghty: Some soaking since the end of last June.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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