With the current cold weather situation due to worsen this evening, as Storm Emma collides with 'the beast from the east' to create snow blizzards across the country, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine asks all stakeholders to note the issues below in particular:
Farm Safety is paramount during bad weather. Whilst the more significant concerns on farm relate to the provision of water, shelter and feed to livestock, whether housed or being outwintered. It is essential that farm safety is prioritised above all else. In the case of sheep flocks it is essential that they are brought to a sheltered area in advance of the worst of this event. Where farmers are tending animals, they should ensure they carry a fully charged mobile phone and let people know where they are, checking in regularly. If tending animals in remote locations, a second person should accompany them. Take care around the farmyard ensuring concrete areas are gritted or salted. Falls are the biggest threat and take care to avoid. Do not attempt to remove snow from roofs of farm buildings. To avoid damage to pumps, milking equipment etc, drain thoroughly. Water for livestock remains a significant problem on farms with pipes and ball-cocks for supply freezing, but continued access to water is important at this time when cows are calving and sheep lambing.
The Department’s 24 hour animal welfare helpline will continue to be monitored over the coming days. Members of the public with any concerns can contact the Department’s helpline on Call Save 0761 064408 or 01 6072379.
The Department has been in constant contact with industry facilitating orderly operation and wind-down of processing operations. It is important to recognise that a temporary reduction in such processing will not impact on retail supplies. Fishing vessels in areas most impacted have generally also returned to port at this time.
The Department wishes to emphasise that as farmers deal with the difficulty conditions on farms at present that there is a need for safety first at all times in the period ahead.