Warning issued over farmers’ eagerness to replenish silage supplies

A warning was recently issued to farmers around their eagerness to replenish supplies of silage in the coming months, particularly round bales, ahead of next winter.

In recent weeks, farmers have been faced with a significant fodder crisis – with many co-ops importing fodder from the UK and continental Europe to alleviate the demand here.

This crisis will have depleted any reserve stocks of fodder that may have been in the country, meaning farmers will be eager to save as much as possible in the summer ahead – in the hopes of avoiding a similar situation next year.

However, a senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority, Pat Griffin, recently told farmers at a KT event held in the Hotel Kilmore in Co. Cavan to be careful when managing round bales.

Addressing the meeting, he outlined that the fodder crisis in 2013 was followed by a year of significant grass growth in Ireland.

“Everyone had two cuts of silage in fairly quickly and they said ‘there’s more to be cut, we’ll bale silage’.

There were mountains of baled silage put all over the country and they then resulted in about eight fatalities in the following 14 months, from farmers trying to deal with round bales that weren’t capable of dealing with them – they didn’t have the machinery to deal with them.

The manner in which these “mountains” of baled silage were constructed contributed to the accidents which occurred when farmers began moving them to feed to livestock, Griffin added.

During his presentation at the event – which was hosted by CC Agri Consultants and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) last week – Griffin detailed one particular accident that involved bales of silage that were stacked.

He told those present at the meeting of how one 70-year-old farmer was unwrapping a bale when another slipped from the stack behind him and fell on top of him, killing him in the process.

Griffin took the opportunity to underline the importance of exercising caution when handling bales of fodder.