IFA President Joe Healy said the impact of Storm Emma, with heavy snow falls and freezing conditions, has left extremely difficult working conditions on farms across the country, and he urged farm families to take all safety precautions.
He said in order to look after their stock, farmers have to work through the difficult conditions. However, the heavy snow falls and frost have left conditions extremely difficult to impossible in many areas across the country.
Joe Healy said deep snow has left farmyards in a very difficult state and drifting has compounded this problem in places. In addition, he said frozen water pipes are a major problem for dairy farmers and for drinking water on livestock farms.
He said for sheep farmers, lambing capacity is becoming a problem because they cannot get their stock out. He appealed to farmers who have spare capacity in their sheds to make it available to neighbours with newborn lambs.
Joe Healy called on co-ops to hold the February milk price to support dairy farmers through the horrendous impact of the snow storm. He said, “Interrupted milk collections, increasing milking times, difficulties keeping animals fed, watered and warm are only some of the challenges dairy farmers are facing through the snow storm.
“Co-ops have understandably not been able to maintain collection frequency since Tuesday, and in many cases those have been altogether interrupted. While many farmers have capacity for four milkings in their tanks, they are now all coming under severe pressure. Farmers need to be able to count on their co-ops to make a supportive decision on milk price for February supplies to help them through this very difficult time.”
“Farmers are working throughout the night at this time of the year lambing ewes and calving cows. There is a real need for ever extra care and caution to be taken. The best and safest place to be is at home but anyone who has to venture out on the farm should wrap-up warm; wear hi-vis clothing; let someone else know where they are going and their expected return time; and, make sure to take a fully charged mobile phones with them,” Joe Healy advised.
The IFA President once again reminded farmers who are alone at this time, and struggling to access services, supplies or fodder to make contact with their local IFA branch for support, where necessary.