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Farming

The killing fields

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Summertime . . . the busiest of seasons on Irish farms as the silage season peaks.

A FRESH appeal has been made this week by a Galway farm representative to keep safety issues on top of the agenda during the peak summer season, following a shocking litany of deaths this year due to agricultural accidents.

Machinery has now established itself as the ‘big killer’ on Irish farmers accounting for the vast majority of fatalities prompting the IFA and the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) to plea for more safety routines and procedures to be put in place.

Of the 13 farm deaths so far this year, eight of them were machinery related, two were as a result of livestock attacks, another two involved being trapped or crushed while one was as a result of slurry gas suffocation/drowning.

Galway-Mayo IFA Regional Officer, Roy O’Brien, described the carnage on Irish farms so far this year as truly shocking and said that farmers and contractors should put in place a plan for safety routines to be followed.

“We all know that farmers and contractors can be under the most intense pressure this time of the year to get work done, especially in the context of varying weather conditions, but we are asking everyone just to keep thinking safety.

“What does it really matter if silage is a day late, if a family is left bereaved or if someone is left with a serious injury that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Every morning when a farmer wakes up, safety must be the first thing on his mind,” said Roy O’Brien.

He said that the high risk areas were farm machinery, slurry, livestock and the holiday season when schoolgoers were off for the summer.

“One farm death is one too many and if a little bit of time, a little bit of care and a little bit of planning can help to prevent such an occurrence, then it’s surely well worth the effort,” said Roy O’Brien.

Mark Ryan, Press Officer with the HSA, told the Farming Tribune, that while they understood the huge pressures that farmers often had to work under, safety just had to stay at the top of the agenda. He outlined six key safety points for farmers to try and follow:

■ Plan work to make sure it can be done safely.

■ Check machinery and equipment before use.

■ Communicate with family, workers and contractors to make sure that tasks and safeguards are understood.

■ Train persons to operate tractors and machinery and complete jobs safely.

■ Assess and control risks to children and persons with slower reaction times.

■ Do not allow children unsupervised access to the farmyard.

 

Connacht Tribune

Farmers are advised to get early advice on 2023 Nitrates Derogation requirements

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Tighter limits in latest Nitrates Derogation requirements. Photo: Courtesy of Teagasc.

MORE intensively stocked farmers – the vast majority of them in the dairy sector – have been advised by the Minister for Agriculture to ‘engage as soon as possible’ with the Nitrates Derogation application process.

Charlie McConalogue also advised dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural advisors – given the new excretion rate bands applicable to dairy cows since January 1, 2023.

The Minister added that the Nitrates Derogation provided farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising water quality.

“The Nitrates Derogation is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.”

“All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment, particularly those farming more intensively.

“It is crucial that we protect and restore our waters as soon as possible to maintain the Nitrates Derogation at current levels into the future.

“Water quality is crucial to a healthy environment and farmers are keen to drive further improvements here,” said the Minister.

The Dept. of Agriculture has outlined the three bands applicable for dairy cows: 80kg N/cow; 92 kg N/cow; and 106 kg N/cow per year.  Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of a nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway farmers to meet on crisis in sheep

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David Harney: Common sense has prevailed.
Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney

GALWAY sheep farmers will get the chance to vent their feelings on the prices and cost crisis facing the sector at a meeting in Tuam next week.

The meeting – hosted by Galway IFA – will take place in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam, on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 8pm.

It follows a national meeting of sheep farmers in Athlone last month at which the problems facing the sector in terms of declining prices, rising costs and lack of Government aid were highlighted.

According to Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, information provided at the Athlone meeting by Teagasc specialists indicated a profitability level of only €7 per ewe for sheep farmers.

“This is absolutely flabbergasting. No member of society could work 24/7 and expect such a miserly return. Government support for the sheep industry is essential now in order to preserve the sector,” said Stephen Canavan.

Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney also stated that the recent government report into the wool industry had provided nothing to sheep farmers that would give confidence in the future.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Query over Department’s BVD Stats

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ALL may not be as the Dept. of Agriculture is painting it in relation to the prevalence of BVD in herds, according to a North Galway farmer who has contacted the Farming Tribune.

The farmer, from the Caltra area, who has a herd of 25 sucklers with no recent buy-ins, said that in the past year he had to have three calves put down due to BVD.

He said that while the Department of Agriculture were trying to paint a picture of BVD almost being eliminated from the national herd, this wasn’t the reality on the ground.

“This just isn’t the case on my farm – I now of other farmers who have lost animals due to BVD,” the farmer stated.

He said that he wanted to put the record straight as regards claims from Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, who had claimed that Ireland was now close to achieving ‘the goal of BVD freedom’.

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) was first recognised as a major disease problem in Irish herds when the first year of the BVD programme started.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, the incidence of the virus in tested animals stood at 0.66% while in 2022, this had dropped to 0.03%.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that while the overall national trend in the incidence of BVD was very encouraging, there could still be pockets of the disease in herds.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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