The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has participated in a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, convened by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the lead Government Department on Severe Weather Incidents.
Met Éireann has issued a weather advisory indicating that Ireland is facing a very unusual, extremely cold period, with precipitation, affecting the East and South East of the country from Tuesday night, February 27. Sustained, very cold conditions, possibly only rising to 0 degrees in daytime and accompanied by strong winds are indicated. These conditions will persist until Friday, March 2 at least.
Such conditions will obviously be of particular 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.
Animal welfare concerns
For any animal welfare issues arising from this severe weather event farmers are advised to keep in touch with their Teagasc adviser, veterinary practitioner, or to contact the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Animal Welfare Helpline:
- Call Save: 0761 064408
- 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.
Finally, 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. The Department will continue to be fully represented at all meetings of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group in the coming days and will provide updated information where necessary, in addition to that available on the related links as outlined below: