From sourcing straw to farmer tans, the summer can be a stressful time on Irish farms. Rachel Hussey gives us the lowdown on what to expect from our farmers in the coming months.

1. Will the sun ever come out?
You’ve endured the spring showers and now they don’t seem to be stopping and worse, the drains you put in last summer aren’t working like you thought they would. Disaster. What could possibly fix this? Sun. Nothing like the sun to get the grass growing.

2. Will it ever rain?
Ok, we got the sun but lads, it’s a bit too dry now isn’t it? Nothing like a drop of rain to get the fields to green up eh? We need a balance and Irish weather isn’t helping.

3. When can I spread the fertiliser?
Timing is key. You want to make the most of the possible grass growth but you don’t want your work washed away in the run off from the rain. Stress ensues.

4. “I wonder has Pat over the road started cutting?”
Nothing like the competition between neighbours about who will haul out the silage gear first and you keep an eye out from early May.

5. “What will we make the boys for their supper?”
The lads have been hard at work cutting and packing silage all day and they need to eat. Panic is inevitable. What kind of spread will you put out for them? Will they like a salad? What about some chips? Don’t even start me on those picky eaters – cue mammy shouting, “They’ll eat what’s put in front of them”. One plus though – the house is filled with the fancy biscuits.

6. Picking stones
The weather is fine. The land is dry. When will you get a more ideal time to pick stones than now? No one is quite sure what these stones are used for and the mystery will forever exist.

7. Farmers tan
You’ve been out all summer and your shoulders have been covered but your arms have been bare all season. What else can this mean but the unfortunate farmers tan creeping in? You will spend all summer trying to even this out but I mean why bother? Embrace it.

8. The second cut
The first cut of silage is done and you’ve noticed that you don’t have enough. You’ve decided to set a few paddocks aside and hope that the growth will take off with them. Now to decide when to get it done.

9. Who to get straw from?
The end of summer is fast approaching and you’re not entirely sure how you are going to get some straw to keep the cattle warm over those long winter nights. Time to start researching suppliers in the area.

10. Ploughing Championship
Nothing closes the summer quite like the Ploughing Championship. You pile the family into the car and head off at the crack of dawn ready to stock up on your yearly supply of stationery. What could be better?


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