Cookies on The Southern Star website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Southern Star website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does The Southern Star use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We dont sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message
  • Farming

Co-ops pull out all the stops to collect milk during snowstorm

Monday, 12th March, 2018 1:10pm

Story by Emma Connolly
Co-ops pull out all the stops to  collect milk during snowstorm

Maurice and Jonas Fielding on the tractor pulling a Barryroe Co-Op lorry up a hill to the farm of Donal Cronin, Coolmain, Kilbrittain, so that milk could be collected on Saturday last. (Photo: Nick O’Donoghue)



WEST Cork co-ops pulled out all the stops to ensure as few farmers as possible had to spill milk despite treacherous road conditions in the wake of Storm Emma. 

Areas around Bandon, Kilbrittain, Ballinspittle, Clonakilty and Timoleague were worst hit with many side roads impassable even by tractor. 

Bandon Co-Op Deputy CEO John Coffey praised his staff for their ‘all-hands-on-deck’ response to the challenge.  They put tankers in locations like Ballinadee, Inishannon and Watergate Street in Bandon where farmers could travel to with their tanks. 

They also called in the help of outside hauliers with teams working late into the night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, collecting milk and delivering feed. 

Farmer Donal Cronin, Coolmain, Kilbrittain, took matters in his own hands last Saturday when he heard that a Barryroe Coop lorry was in his area. 

‘We were collected on Tuesday morning, but by Saturday the tank was overflowing,’ said Donal who farms with his father Dan. 

‘It was hard enough to milk in last week’s conditions so it would have been awful to have had to spill,’ he added.

‘We knew there was a Barryroe lorry a few miles away and that farmers were bringing milk to it in their tanks. We didn’t have a tank and there was a stretch of around 60 to 100 metres of snow that blocked the lorry getting to us. I rang the coop and they said if we could bring the lorry up, to go for it.

‘With the help of our neighbours, Maurice and son Jonas Fielding, we used their four-wheel drive tractor to clear the way, and another tractor belonging to them to pull the lorry up.’

Driver John  McCarthy, couldn’t have been more helpful, said Donal. 

Barryroe Co-Op quality manager Hugh Holland said they used contractors to pull milk lorries into difficult spots. Ballinspittle was particularly badly hit, he said, where it took contractors around six hours to dig out a collection access point.  

Meanwhile, the chair of West Cork ICMSA, Tom Wilson,  said it was essential that farmers who milked their cows in very difficult conditions suffered no loss due to delays in milk collections. 

He noted that Glanbia, the state’s largest processor, had committed to paying 20 cents per litre for milk they were unable to collect, but he pointed out that this still left the farmers down 15 cents per litre due to no fault of their own.

The Enniskeane farmer also welcomed the Government’s announcement that farmers who removed snow-related hazards on public roads will not be liable for any claims during the current extreme weather conditions.  

He was particularly emphatic that any farm inspections carried out over the next periods must take account of the damage done to sheds and guttering, etc by the extreme weather and, in no circumstances, should penalties be imposed for non-compliance where buildings and equipment was damaged by the snow storm.  

Corney Buckley, West Cork IFA chairman, said farm buildings in Clonakilty had been damaged by the weight of snow. 

‘Most importantly, even though people were stretched, no one was injured. It was a very difficult and trying time though and given that we’re entering into our seventh wet month the next few weeks will continue to be tough as a longer winter will mean higher costs for the farmer.’

A spokesman for the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said they were precluded from refunding anything that  was an insurable risk, which included milk. 



Stay up-to-date with the latest West Cork news with a Southern Star digital subscription on your phone, tablet or computer. Click here for more.