Ten o’clock last Sunday morning, and I’m standing on the edge of a nine-acre silage field.
To my left sits a big John Deere tractor with an auto swarther mower, to my right another John Deere and mower. But both are silent.
A jeep sweeps across an adjoining field and bounces through the gap to where I stand, sending water splashing from a puddle.
"Ah for God’s sake, it’s unbelievable" says the driver as he opens the door and looks down before getting out, to check that the ground is just that, and not another loch of water.
It’s Victor Cummins, the boss of a local silage outfit. He walks over to me, pressing the heel of his boot into the soft ground with the expression of a man whose day has just taken another turn for the worst.
"The trailers, Martin, the trailers won’t manage. The lads can cut it, probably, but it’d be a disaster trying to get the trailers out," he says.
We had both walked this self same field the evening before, and decided that, all going well, it was "doable".
However, at some stage on Saturday night, the rain had come again, and now all was changed. The funny thing was that because Sunday morning had become dry and sunny, the grass had appeared in very good order, with little dampness evident.
But with seven rounds of the field cut, the boys on the mowers had phoned in to say they were stopping until I came to look.
The problem was simple, the grass was dry, but the underfoot conditions had deteriorated over night to the point where the wheels of the mower outfits were in danger of breaking the surface.
The reality for the farming community in this, the most stressful of "summers", is that after the prolonged wet spell of recent weeks, the ground became fully saturated and incapable of absorbing more water.
"Blessed be those who cut early, for theirs will be the best fodder," I think to myself, as I turn over one of the cut swards and examine the grass.
Although mainly dry, there is no mistaking the brown discolouration of the bottom foot which has lain on the ground. It’s no better or worse than what I’d expected.
Victor and myself walked across to the uncut grass, the majority of the field at this stage, as we did he told me, "It’s the same all over, Martin, don’t just think it’s you."
Then he moves the conversation on; "There’s no point in me destroying your fields. We had to pull out of another place the other day. This bloody summer’s a joke.
I’ll cut it for you, and we’ll only half fill the trailers; but I’m not going to make any promises. Red Rocks are five tonne empty."
I’ve already made up my mind however.
"No" I reply.
"This is a ‘dry’ field, Victor, the next one isn’t. We’d only be wasting our time, and as my father use to say, none of us are getting paid excitement money."
He laughs, "Okay, I had a farmer on to me this morning." (He named a farmer whose land is situated on higher, freer draining ground)
"He has five fields. We’ll definitely cut three, but the other two …"
He punches the number into his phone. I moved off to chat to the men on the mowers. Five minutes later, they were on their way, Victor dropped me down to the house, and as he did, his phone rang.
It’s another farmer who, judging by Victor’s replies, is trying to judge the weather and field and grass conditions, plus the availability of silage gear at short notice.
Like any good business man, Victor keeps the negatives to a minimum while emphasising the realities. "Hard to keep them all onside," he says, as he thumbs the off button.