With winter comes colder weather, often freezing in Ireland, therefore it is important to ensure that all machinery on the farm is in good working order.

The Department of Defence’s ‘Be Winter Ready’ booklet advises to keep tractors in the shed when they’re not in use.

It also advises to have adequate anti-freeze in the cooling system as it can become diluted if being topped up during the year.

Traces of water in fuel lines can freeze and block flow. Have batteries fully charged to cope with the extra demands of starting in freezing conditions.

When it comes to sprayers make sure pumps are fully drained, it advises. Remove pressure gauges from sprayers and store away from frost.

Clean out and drain the sprayer thoroughly including all pipes filters and nozzles.

If the sprayer cannot be stored in a frost-free shed, put about 10L of anti-freeze mixture (33%) into the tank, pump it through all valves and pipe work by opening the appropriate valves. Drain all pipes and hoses.

Farm safety in over the winter months

There is increased risk of injury during severe weather conditions and most injuries result from slips and falls causing fractures and head injuries.

The following advice is from the ‘Be Winter Ready’ booklet:

  • Clear a number of tracks around the farmyard, treat with de-icing salt and keep to these safe walkways.
  • Grit sloped yards and roadways to facilitate traffic.
  • Herd out-wintered livestock during daylight hours and be back before nightfall.
  • Keep away from hazardous areas and rough terrain.
  • Bring a mobile phone when going out herding or on other journeys.
  • If rigging up additional lamps and heaters use the correct wiring and ensure these are protected by a 30 milliamp RCD (Residual Current Device) on the switch or fuse board to prevent electric shocks.