It is now more than four months since the first of the damaging floods covered a large area of farmland in Fermanagh.
Despite a dry spell of about 10 days in March, the land that lay underwater for many weeks, is still saturated with water with spells of heavy rain in recent weeks.
Now with longer days and the season well underway for preparing ground for silage production, many of the farmers affected are wondering about the future of their land.
Much of the land under water for several months has now turned brown, the grass varieties and even the weeds rotting in the ground.
It is clear that restoring the land to full production again will be a costly exercise.
Andrew Wilson, who has a farm close to Upper Lough Erne at Rossmacaffrey, near Lisnaskea, is seeking expert opinion to decide what to do with a 10-acre field which is regularly used for silage cutting which was flooded. From what should be lush green grass in April, it is instead a sodden brown mess.
Some other farmers have already begun repair work to their land when they dried out sufficiently during the dry spell. They are using over-seeding techniques to rejuvenate the rye-grasses for better quality grazing and silage. But it comes at a cost.
A major study by ADAS in the south of England following the floods of 2014, indicated that flooding can cause significant damage to grassland. They said it depended on the type of sward, degree of weed infestation, duration of flooding, soil type, amount of silt and debris, and the flow rate
of water which determined the effects of flooding on pasture damage and the subsequent recovery.
The report “Impact of 2014 Winter Floods on Agriculture, England”stated: “As a rule of thumb, it is thought that after 10 -14 days of submergence under standing water, ryegrass plants will begin to die.”
It also stated that the rate of recovery of a soil and pasture after flood waters have receded will depend on a number of factors such as soil texture, sward height, silt and mud.
“In terms of a grass sward, the weed burden after flooding is likely to be large, as flood waters can introduce new weed species to pastures. In addition, thin, slow recovering pastures and bare soils will allow weed infestation and a reduction in the seed bank of desirable species.”
The report stated that grassland under water for some time would probably require re-drilling.