HEAVY rainfall is putting severe pressure on seasonal farm work such as slurry spreading, sowing and turning out livestock, the UFU have warned.

Following prolonged rainfall in recent months, hopes that the weather is 'on the turn' has been dogged in recent days due to further heavy downpours. 

And things show little signs of improving with Storm Kathleen to bring rain and snow tomorrow (Saturday). 

Locally, farmers have found it difficult to shift slurry, with ground conditions proving challenging. 

In terms of the seasonal slurry campaign, the general consensus among farmers is the same - a few load here and there to take pressure off fast-overflowing slurry tanks. 

One farmer from Monea stated: "We have only about four load out, just to lower the tanks a bit. The ground is terrible and we can't get on it at all. It's not simple."

Under the current conditions, spreading with a traditional tractor-tanker combination has been unfeasible, with the combined weight of both machines causing unnecessary damage to ground. 

Amid the prolonged poor weather, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president David Brown, from Florencecourt,  is urging local banks to recognise the added pressure and stress farm families are now under, and their ability to provide leniency

Mr Brown said: “The level of rainfall across Northern Ireland has made it impossible to move livestock, planting and sowing is way behind, and bills are mounting as farmers struggle to keep on top of their work.

“We are urging everyone in the banking sector who interacts with farmers, to take this into account and to give whatever support they can. It is no secret that banks have made profits in recent years while farmers are doing their best to stay afloat.

"Banks have the power to apply leniency for anybody who’s battling to meet repayments and they need to step up for farmers.

Mr. Brown continued: "Weather conditions cannot be controlled however, ensuring fairness is applied throughout the supply chain can make a big difference for farm businesses."

“Many farmers operate as sole traders, therefore, it’s critical that every pound that’s in the marketplace makes its way back to farmers. This can help to ease the pressure on farmers when uncontrollable elements such as the weather, is going against them.

“TB levels are at an all time high in NI, many farmers are currently closed and are unable to sell livestock, meaning they have extra animals to house and feed.

"At this stage of the year, silage stocks will be low, and they will need to source and buy more. This puts extra pressure on cashflows and the daily running of the farm – farmers may need additional support."