Coldest April in 24 years recorded in some areas

IFA organises €1 million fund to source fodder in France as ‘longest winter’ takes its toll

April’s values follow on from one of the coldest months of March for 50 years. Above, dead lambs lie in the snow as farmers search for trapped sheep in snow drifts in the Aughafatten area of Co Antrim on March 26th last. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

April’s values follow on from one of the coldest months of March for 50 years. Above, dead lambs lie in the snow as farmers search for trapped sheep in snow drifts in the Aughafatten area of Co Antrim on March 26th last. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Thu, May 2, 2013, 06:00

Last month was the coldest April for 24 years in the north and west of the country as the exceptionally cold spring continues.

Temperatures at stations in the north and west were over 1.5 degrees below average. Mullingar in Co Westmeath and Sherkin Island in Co Cork recorded their coldest April since 1989, as did coastal stations in the north and west.

Knock, with an average April temperature of just 6.2 degrees, had its coldest April since 2001. Most weather stations recorded temperatures at least a degree below normal.

The night of April 6th brought the coldest temperatures ever recorded in April at Dublin Airport (minus 5.6 degrees) and Mullingar (minus 6.6 degrees). Gurteen in Co Sligo recorded a grass minimum temperature of minus 11.4 degree on the same night.

Exceptionally windy

It was also exceptionally windy. The monthly mean wind speeds at Dublin Airport at 12.9 knots was the highest since 1950. At Cork Airport it was 12.7 knots, the highest since 1985.

April’s values follow on from one of the coldest months of March for 50 years. Easterly and northeasterly airflows have persisted from the middle of February into the first week of April, making it, to date, one of the coldest springs since records began. Temperatures in March were 3 degrees below normal in most places.

IFA president John Bryan said farmers were now grappling with the “longest winter on record” following from a “terribly wet summer” last year.

The IFA and agribusinesses have organised a €1 million fund to source 3,000 tonnes of top quality hay in France which will be brought into the country next week.

“There is huge pressure as the cold weather and the low temperatures have lasted into May,” Mr Bryan said on Morning Ireland. “The temperatures have not risen and the crisis continues. There’s another two to three weeks of this crisis.”

He said grass growth normally starts just after St Patrick’s Day in the south of the country, spreading to other areas, but grass growth has only begun in the south now, six weeks late.