From dogs to pine martens: farmland predators and how they kill discusses the predators most likely to attack your flock, and asks: how can we read the signs to identify the predator?

The mystery of the dead lambs

For the last month or so, we have kept a dozen ewe lambs, born last April, in the meadow beside our house. These are good, strong Brockie faced hoggets that will be ready for the ram this autumn.

One night, about a fortnight ago, they were attacked. We found one dead on a murky wet morning, with half her neck eaten away. Two days later, we discovered a second lamb dead. This time, the entire head had been taken.

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Lead poisoning: prevention is key discusses the dangers of lead poisoning on the farm, and outlines some measures you can take to prevent your animals from ingesting this common toxin.

More common than you might think

Lead is the most common cause of poisoning in livestock. Accidental ingestion of lead occurs among cattle and sheep far more frequently than you might think. Because lead ingestion will kill an animal quickly, lead poisoning often goes unrecognised. A farmer may find a previously healthy animal dead in a field and attribute the sudden death to a heart attack or some deadly disease. Farmland that lies near heavily industrialised areas is particularly at risk.

Failure to diagnose lead poisoning as the cause of death can have disastrous consequences, as the poison is on your land and more animals are likely to succumb to it if you do not take action.

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From heavy lifting to electrical maintenance: 5 tips for safe winter farming focusses once more on the theme of farm safety and outlines 5 key safety measures that farmers should take this winter.

On the farm, every season brings a different set of challenges. Calving season in spring means sleepless nights, while long summer days on the tractor is murder on the back. No matter what the farming calendar throws our way, though, it is always important to think of our own safety and that of others. Farming, by its very nature, is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. And while most farmers are aware of the hazards of the job and try to take all necessary precautions, it can be easy to forget safety measures as we rush from one task to another.

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Fireworks are fine, but we have a duty of care to animals outlines how fireworks displays are a source of stress to pets and livestock, and offers some advice on how to keep animals safe next week.

A great spectacle

It’s that time of year again. Next week, the countryside will scream with fireworks and we should all be prepared. True, most of us may enjoy the spectacle. There is something fundamentally appealing about watching the night sky come alive with great sprays of colour. I have a baby daughter and look forward to taking her outside to watch the neighbours’ annual display.

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Tractor lighting: stay safe by getting it right discusses the importance of maintaining adequate lighting on tractors, especially during the busy summer season.

A loaded weapon

As mentioned in this blog a couple of weeks ago, we are all spending more time on our tractors during these long summer days. There is hay and silage to make, animals to move, turf to be brought home. There is a mountain of work that can’t be done without machinery. That is why it is so important that we go the extra mile in observing all necessary safety precautions. Every time that we climb into the cab, we should remind ourselves that tractors are responsible for 50% of farming-related fatalities. In terms of our approach, we should view tractors and other farm machinery just as we would view a loaded weapon.

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Spending a lot of time on the tractor? Mind your back! discusses how spending a lot of time driving a tractor can be harmful to the lower back, and offers farmers some advice on how to reduce risk this silage season.

A physically demanding profession

The number of farmers who complain of back pain during this time of year is always very high. If you, personally, haven’t experienced persistent aching in the lower back, you almost certainly know a farmer who has. Now, there are many possible causes of back pain. Farming is a physically demanding profession, after all, and entails many activities that are potentially harmful to the back muscles. Tasks such as pitching and lifting heavy weights are notoriously hard on this part of the body.

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Stuck behind farm machinery on the road? Take it easy!

Traffic behind tractor advises road users to relax when stuck behind slow-moving farm machinery this summer. 

It’s silage season – know what to expect on Irish roads?

If you live in a rural area or took a drive into the countryside over the last few weeks, chances are you’ve spent some time driving behind heavy machinery. Tractors are a frequent sight on Irish roads at all times of the year, but the summer months see a sharp increase in the volume of moving machinery in public spaces. With the silage season well underway, you will encounter large tractors carrying mowers and bale lifters, or towing balers and wrappers, every few kilometres on most journeys.    Continue reading “Stuck behind farm machinery on the road? Take it easy!”

Children on farms: Let’s keep them safe this summer

As summer weather finally reaches Ireland, reminds farmers of the importance of meeting high child safety standards on Irish farms.

The reprehensible few

Farming friends, it’s time to talk about child safety. Now, I understand that many of you are sick of the media pontification on this issue. It is important to acknowledge that most of us are already conscious of the dangers that a busy farm poses, especially to small children; and that we do everything in our power to protect our families from moving machinery, livestock and other hazards. Unfortunately, though, there will always be those few who make reckless decisions, who forget about the danger, don’t see it, or ignore it for a variety of reasons. This problem doesn’t seem to be going away. Worse still, over the last couple of years we have seen a spike in social media videos depicting extremely dangerous and, frankly, idiotic behaviour on Irish farms. It is bad enough to put ourselves needlessly into harm’s way for 5 seconds of fame; but to put children and teenagers in danger for the sake of a few views on Youtube or Facebook is beyond reprehensible.

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