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IFA President Tim Cullinan has hit out at people who are recording pranks with farm machinery for uploading on the TikTok social media channel.

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With silage cutting season underway, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are making a joint appeal to drivers of farming machinery and vulnerable road users to share the road safely.

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With children off school for three weeks now due to Covid-19 and the Easter Bank Holiday this weekend, IFA President Tim Cullinan has appealed to farmers and everybody in the farming community to step up their farm safety plan.

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IFA President Tim Cullinan said that with children off school at present and with some older ones helping out on farms, we are seeing the very best of the Irish farm family model at work during this crisis to keep the food supply chain moving.

However, this also increases the need for total vigilance regarding farm safety.

He said, “With schools off, children are spending more time at home and farmers MUST pay particular attention and ensure children are aware of the dangers on the farm and are supervised at all times. This is particularly true for farmers who still have cows to calve”.

“A farm can be a wonderful place for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered. The Irish family farm is at the centre of our food supply chain, the security of which has never been more important.”

“However, it can also be a dangerous place where the unthinkable can happen in a matter of seconds. Children are expected to be at home for an extended period of time, with social isolation meaning their activity outlets are curtailed. Farm families must plan for this,” said the IFA President.

Caroline Farrell, IFA’s National Farm Family Chair said, “IFA has dedicated farm safety resources on ifa.ie, I urge parents to visit our website and use these in their discussions with their children. If a farmer has difficulty accessing the internet, they can contact their local office and request information be posted to them”.

With spring calving now underway on many Irish farms, IFA National Farm Family Chairperson, Caroline Farrell has urged farmers to be particularly vigilant to ensure their own safety.

Heifers and cows can be unpredictable at calving time and may hit out without warning. Over the past 10 years livestock has accounted for 20% of farm fatalities, with the calving cow involved in over half of these fatalities.

The IFA Chair said, “The calving cow is the most dangerous animal on Irish farms and should not be trusted. Spring is the busiest time of year on many Irish farms. Farmers work around the clock, often needing to be up several times a night to check on animals. This can lead to severe tiredness, restricting a farmer’s ability to react quickly”.

The IFA has developed some useful tips for farmers to help keep them safe, including:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a neighbour with a difficult cow or heifer
  • Know your limitations, you’re not as agile as you were this time last year
  • Make sure the calving gate is operating properly
  • Make sure the calving jack and ropes are fit for purpose
  • Cows are a prey animal and the maternal instinct of a cow is to protect her calf, especially after calving – make sure all dogs and children are out of sight before entering the pen
  • Make sure the cow is correctly locked into the calving gate
  • Ensure calving pens have appropriate lighting
  • Remember there is no such thing as a quiet cow

 


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