Munster Bovine: AI services will continue but with strict protocols in place

Munster Bovine has taken actions to safeguard the health and safety of its farmer customers and contractors in light of Covid-19, the agricultural services firm has announced.

Very strict protocols have been drawn up for both Munster Bovine AI and the electronic do it yourself (EDIY) technicians and for Munster Bovine’s farmer customers to minimise the risk to human health when AI services are provided on farm, the company said in a statement today, Wednesday, March 18.

Protocol

This protocol includes very strict hygiene guidelines and social distancing recommendations for Munster Bovine personnel to follow before, during and after AI service farm visits.

AI technicians have been requested to communicate with herd owners via mobile phone – and report any confirmed cases of the coronavirus immediately.

In addition, farmers have been asked to refrain from any contact with the AI technician while he/she is on farm.

Detailing what herd owners have been requested to do, chief executive of Munster Bovine Kevin Coffey explained:

“Farmers have been asked to use their mobile phones to avoid personal contact with AI technicians and breeding advisors. We are requesting farmers to provide a fresh foot-bath for the AI technician.

“In addition, we are asking farmers to have a designated area for instruction as to what cows are to be inseminated and with what sires, ensuring no personal contact.”

Coffey added that a clean crush must be available and disinfected daily, while a bag or bin will be needed for disposables such as gloves, sheaths and straws.

“Finally, herd-owners are asked to inform the HSE [Health Service Executive] and their local area manager if they test positive for Covid 19 immediately,” the chief executive added.

AI services to go ahead

Munster Bovine assured that AI services are deemed to be an essential service and the firm will continue to offer them this breeding season. Coffey continued, adding: “This is very much a collaborate effort. Farmers need to take these measures very seriously. Farmers are not exempt from social distancing.

“By working together and adhering to the protocols that have been circulated to both our AI technician team and to our customers, we can ensure the integrity of this service.

In order to mitigate the risk associated with restricted dispatch services, Munster Bovine is also reaching out to their DIY farmer customers.

“DIY customers are urged to place their semen orders without delay. This will ensure that all of our customer groups are serviced effectively with their requirements.”

Manual milk recording suspended

On Monday, Munster Bovine suspended all manual milk recording for an initial period of two weeks effective from yesterday, Tuesday, March 17, to Monday, March 30.

Describing the move as regrettable but the correct decision to make, the firm said that all Munster Bovine manual milk recording customers have been contacted via SMS to inform them of this decision and the herd management team will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks.

Coffey reassured farmers that the EDIY milk recording service will continue during this two-week period.

“Similar to the AI service, EDIY milk recording will continue under very strict protocols – and we would again urge our farmer customers to ensure they do not have any contact with the EDIY technician when on farm to allow this service to continue,” Coffey concluded.