All over Europe the weather has been unseasonal for the last couple of months, cold and dry in April and then very wet throughout May.
Ireland has been no exception, with 64mm of rain falling in four days last week and before that localised but very severe hail.
“We lost 10 hectares of crops, mainly spinach and baby leaf,” said Stephen McCormack from McCormack Family farms in Co. Meath. “It was bad but very localised and our other farms were all fine, so I was relieved.”
McCormacks got off to a good start and started sowing in February, which is earlier than normal and March continued to be settled. April was cold and dry with night frosts down to -4 °C and they were having to irrigate the new crops but managed to get well ahead with planting.
“The cold slowed growth a bit but didn’t do any damage We were glad to get rain in May but 64mm in 4 days has meant we couldn’t get any planning done at all. Today has been the first dry day since 12th May. After 10th May we don’t usually have to worry about hail anymore but this year it came late in the season.”
The weather is set improve with temperatures of around 20 °C this weekend so the crop growth and planting should catch up.
Before the pandemic McCormacks was heavily reliant on the hospitality sector, but last year they diversified and launched a couple lines for the retailers and now supply many of the retailers in Ireland.
“The retails sales have been good but are slightly down due to the weather, people are waiting for the BBQ season. Although spinach sales remain high.”
The hospitality sector should reopen on 7th June for outdoor dining, it will still be limited but Stephen expects that is will affect retail sales and they have a few instore promotions planned.
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