Keeping the show on the road during severe wintry conditions

With Status Yellow snow-ice and wind warnings currently in effect, it’s fair to say that this week is being dominated by wintry conditions on farms across the country.

As a result, Teagasc has issued advice to farmers to be ‘winter-ready’, offering a range of tips for farming during severe weather conditions and advance planning.

Activities that we take for granted can become difficult or even hazardous when severe weather occurs. By taking some simple steps you can reduce the impact of such events, the agricultural authority notes.

First off, while somewhat obvious, it is nonetheless important to stay safe while out on the farm in severe weather conditions.

Ensure that someone knows your whereabouts, that you carry a charged mobile phone and are wearing suitable layers of warm clothing.

Care should be taken in moving about farmyards for both traffic and animals. Could milk collection be an issue on dairy farms? Grit or salt should be considered as part of the planning process.

Most injuries during severe weather result from slips and falls causing fractures and head injuries. With this in mind, one should clear a number of tracks around the farmyard, and take extra care.

Turning to looking after livestock, Teagasc notes: “Cattle can cope with low temperatures provided they have plenty of feed. Even young calves are not seriously affected by low temperatures if they have shelter from chilling wind and driving snow/rain.

“Planning in advance for the provision of feed for animals outdoors and that all stock indoors have access to water is vital.”

Farmers are advised to take steps to prevent freezing up. Check anti-freeze levels and have batteries fully charged to cope with the extra demands of starting in freezing conditions. Tractors should be kept in the shed when not in use.

The main message is simple – be prepared, stay safe and know where to find help should you need it.