Safety on farms should be to the forefront of farmers’ minds at all times of the year, but the month of May poses an increased risk.

On dairy farms the month of May is busy, with spring-calving herds starting breeding and some harvesting their of first cut of silage.

Silage season

The harvesting of first-cut silage leads to an increased level of machine activity in farmyards. Modern machinery is quite large and heavy, and could easily cause a serious injury.

When machinery is moving around the yard it is important that children are kept well away and supervised.

Some farmyards are tight or have blind bends, so where possible, avoid being around the yard when the silage is coming in.

Another concern is the height of the silage pit; the pit should not exceed the height of the walls.

Exceeding the height of the pit walls is not only dangerous for the person on the pit, but also when it comes to covering.

Bull safety

May is also the start of the breeding season on spring-calving dairy farms, which on some farms means a stockbull runs with the cows.

Freshly calved cows and bulls can be some of the most dangerous animals on a farm.

It is important that a bull is familiar with people, but not over=familiar. A safe distance should be maintained at all times.

Bulls should be ringed from 10 months old, with a chain attached when grazing. There should be a zero-tolerance policy towards any bull showing signs of aggression.

A bull’s temperament changes as it matures, from playful aggression as a yearling to defensive, territorial aggression as a two or three-year-old bull.

If a bull is running with the cows, consider using a vehicle for herding. If you are not using a vehicle you should have an escape route at the ready.

Keep close to the fence and carry a stick and remember, no bull should be trusted.