The relentless flooding over recent weeks has caused huge trauma for the farming community in the Shannon catchment area. Volunteers have gotten involved to help fill sandbags and pump slurry pits and those with the resources are taking in livestock from flooded sheds. Ella McSweeney visits two damaged farms in Athlone that are facing extreme post-flooding concerns. Dairy farmer Padraig Coughlan struggles as almost 90% of his 110 acres are still submerged, and neighbour Francis Nally is under pressure with the fast-approaching calving season.
Unlike our fame in the whiskey world, Ireland isn't traditionally recognised for producing gin but one couple in Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny are on a mission to put us on the map. Rod and Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Orchard have gone a step beyond their initial syrup and juices and have installed the smallest distillery in the country where they use their apples to make more alcohol-enriched drinks, namely their delicious Crystal Gin. Helen Carroll visited the orchard to get the first taste at the beginning of harvest.
Farming in Eastern Russia is not for the faint-hearted, but for one Irishman, Noel O'Connor, the opportunity to farm 18,000 hectares was too good to pass up. A long way from his hometown of Malahide, Noel grows sugar beet, sunflowers and wheat on the black alluvial soils of Russia. Running 24-hour shifts and a team of 65 farm workers means constant challenges and Noel works hard to keep the trucks and Combines rolling during the busy spring and harvest seasons.
Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ