IFA president, Joe Healy, said the impact of Storm Emma, with heavy snow falls and freezing conditions has given rise to extremely difficult working conditions on farms across the country. Sheep farmers are particularly affected with lambing capacity becoming a problem as farmers cannot get their stock out. Mr Healy has appealed to farmers who have spare capacity in their sheds to make it available to neighbours with newborn lambs.
Mr Healy said in order to look after their stock, farmers have to work through these difficult conditions. However, the heavy snow falls and frost have made conditions extremely difficult in many areas across the country. He has urged farm families to take all safety precautions necessary.
"Deep snow has left farmyards in a very difficult state and drifting has compounded this problem in places. Frozen water pipes are a major problem for dairy farmers and for drinking water on livestock farms," he said.
He has called on co-ops to hold the February milk price to support dairy farmers through the horrendous impact of the snow storm.
“Interrupted milk collections, increasing milking times, difficulties keeping animals fed, watered and warm are only some of the challenges dairy farmers are facing through the snow storm.
“Co-ops have understandably not been able to maintain collection frequency since Tuesday, and in many cases those have been altogether interrupted. While many farmers have capacity for four milkings in their tanks, they are now all coming under severe pressure. Farmers need to be able to count on their co-ops to make a supportive decision on milk price for February supplies to help them through this very difficult time.”
“Farmers are working throughout the night at this time of the year lambing ewes and calving cows. There is a real need for extra care and caution to be taken. The best and safest place to be is at home but anyone who has to venture out on the farm should wrap-up warm; wear hi-vis clothing; let someone else know where they are going and their expected return time; and, make sure to take a fully charged mobile phone with them,” Mr Healy advised.
The IFA president is reminding farmers who are alone at this time, and struggling to access services, supplies or fodder to make contact with their local IFA branch for support, where necessary.