Met Éireann’s forecast for this week could mean Ireland is finally on track to experience some real spring weather with temperatures expected to reach 20 degrees by the weekend.
Temperatures will rise to between 15 and 19 degrees on Wednesday in the east of the country, with bright sunshine throughout most of the country.
Thursday will also be a dry, sunny day with highs of 15 to 17 degrees, while Friday will also see warm temperatures and sunshine.
The warm weather is forecast to stick with us over the weekend with temperatures reaching as high as 20 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.
The east of the country will enjoy the warmer temperatures during the week, while the warm weather is expected to settle across western and southwestern counties over the weekend.
While temperatures have become milder over the past week, many fields across the country are still waterlogged following torrential rain earlier this month. The extraordinarily cool temperatures of recent months and the protracted winter weather has caused the worst fodder crisis since 2013.
The Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) has welcomed the news that temperatures will reach 18 degrees his week. However, it warned there is still a long road ahead in the recovery from the fodder crisis, with farmers still facing shortages.
IFA president Joe Healy said the latest weather forecast would be “a relief for farmers who hope it is the start of a lasting period of good weather”.
He warned that it would still take time for enough grass to grow and for ground conditions to improve sufficiently so that animals can get out to grass. “For the moment farmers are still facing a severe shortage of fodder and costly feed bills,” he said.
Dairy and beef farmer Padraic Joyce told The Irish Times that non-stop rain was making it near-impossible to let the cows out on the grass. "Normally at this time of year they would be out full time on grass," said the farmer from Islandeady in Co Mayo. "In the last three days they've only spent three days out. The cows know themselves when it comes to this time of year they should be out but the land is just too water logged."
Mr Joyce is currently relying on silage purchased locally to feed his cattle. The Islandeady townland experienced 24 hours straight of rain on Monday and he expects it will take weeks before the land dries up.
“This year has been extremely expensive for us. This is going to affect fodder for next winter. Normally at this time we would have fertiliser out and we haven’t that done at the present time. I’ve been stretching what fodder I have but we’re running out of money.”