Storm leads to regrettable loss of stock on ‘Greenfield Dairy Farm’

The ‘Greenfield Dairy Farm’ has unfortunately lost a number of animals after it was severely hit by last week’s arctic weather conditions.

The farm in question, which uses a ‘green-field’ format (with outdoor cubicles) suffered the loss of two cows and six calves during the extreme snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Releasing a statement on the issue, Teagasc said: “Like many farms in the country the ‘Greenfield Dairy Farm’ was impacted by the extreme weather on Thursday night, with snow and wind disrupting normal operations.

“Enormous efforts were made on Friday, with additional help brought onto the farm to support the farm manager and staff, to get cows milked and to care for the welfare of the cows and calves.

The staff ensured that all cows were milked each day and that all animals were provided with adequate feed and water, which is the main animal welfare priority in such situations.

“The practice on this farm over the years has been to milk cows once a day during the month of February. This was achieved each day during the extreme weather conditions over the last week.”

The statement added that twice-a-day milking, which normally begins on the farm in March, has since been started.

“Unfortunately, two cows and six calves from the herd of 365 cows were lost during the period of the [Met Eireann] Status Red weather warning on the farm.

An investigation to determine the causes of the animals’ deaths is ongoing.

“The best technical advice has been provided to the development and operation of this farm since it was established in 2009. The focus has always been to operate a sustainable and profitable system, which can only be achieved with good animal welfare.”

The statement pointed to the statistics of cow mortality and morbidity over the last eight years, noting that these prove that the farm has an “excellent animal welfare record”.

“The weather conditions last Thursday night were unprecedented and caused enormous hardship on many farms at one of the most critical times of the year.

“The performance of the ‘Greenfield Dairy Farm’ to-date has always been critically analysed and a detailed analysis of the impact of Storm Emma, and the associated snow storm, will be carried out. This will inform how best to prepare and react to such an event should it ever occur again.”