With weather conditions expected to worsen over Thursday and Friday the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a warning urging farmer to take special care.
The Department has continued to work closely with the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) throughout the week to prepare for the adverse weather conditions currently persisting and anticipated. The NECG has met again this morning following the issuing of a Status Red weather warning in some parts of the country.
The NECG are advising that roads should be avoided in Status Red areas due to expected treacherous conditions. In line with this advice the Department has taken the decision to close offices in affected areas on Thursday and Friday. Contingencies in respect of essential staff providing services to industry in areas such as meat factories, border inspection points and ports have also been facilitated.
The Department will continue to participate in the NECG throughout this weather event and issue further advice as the situation evolves.
Such conditions will also obviously remain of acute concern to farmers and those engaged in the agriculture sector. The more significant effects concern the provision of water, shelter and feed to livestock, whether housed or being outwintered. It is essential that water pipes in the farmyard and also leading to outside water troughs are properly insulated and prevented from freezing up. This is particularly important at this time when cows are calving and sheep lambing, giving rise to a heightened demand for water.
In the case of sheep flocks it is essential that they are brought to a sheltered area during the worst of this event. For any animal welfare issues arising from this severe weather event, farmers are advised to keep in touch with their Teagasc adviser, their Veterinary Practitioner, or to contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Animal Welfare Helpline:
Call Save: 0761 064408
Or direct line: 01 6072379.
In order to ensure a safe working environment and also facilitate the movement of essential goods onto and off-farm, the farmyard and its environs should be fully gritted or sanded.
All machinery should be correctly stored, maintained properly and where necessary, heating should be provided to ensure that milking equipment and other critical plant does not freeze up.
All those working on farms are urged to take particular care in relation to their own personal safety and that of family members which should remain paramount during this difficult weather. When herding livestock in remote areas farmers should ensure that somebody knows where they are and that they stay in contact.
For more information see here.