Are farmers fanning the flames of Ireland’s scorched summer?

gorse-fireSince the beginning of March, thousands of acres of forest, woodland and moorland have gone up in flames.  Unusually dry weather at the start of May saw a spike in the incidence of wildfires and in one single day, thirty to forty fires were raging across the country. Continue reading “Are farmers fanning the flames of Ireland’s scorched summer?”

Thinking On The Hoof – Hoof care in dairy cows

hoof-blog

Lameness and hoof health in the dairy cow continues to be one of the greatest challenges for the dairy industry.  Preventing and treating lameness is a never-ending task for dairy farmers. Rarely do we find a dairy farm that doesn’t have a cow or two favouring a foot that needs attention. It may be due to neglected hoof trimming, injury,digital dermatitis (Mortellaro) or laminitis. Some lameness in dairy cattle can be congenital or the result of injury to the hip and pelvis. By far the majority of lameness in dairy cows, however, is the result of poor hoof care and from pathogenic bacterial challenges.
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A look at life on the farm in 1960’s rural Ireland

blog-1960Hippies were shocking America. The teddy boys and girls were swinging in London. The Cuban missile crisis had the world holding its breath. But home in rural Ireland, like some black and white Christmas nostalgia advertisement, life was jogging along slowly and steadily. It was a gentle past. Hard work, travelling by bicycle and long lazy afternoons are our collective memory.  Creamery cans were functional items, not garden ornaments. Horses and donkeys were working animals, not luxury pets for amusing the grandchildren on a long weekend.  Sunday was a true day of rest with not a soul moving after mass in the villages in towns. 1960 farming was a far cry from the online shopping, drone launching, machinery driven farming of today.
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The seven tell-tale signs of a sheep farmer

sheep-farmerWe are right in the middle of lambing season and ghostly figures are seen making hurried expeditions to the supermarket, the vets and to Agirdirect stores to snatch supplies and rushing home to continue their 24 hour vigils.  While the rest of the population is rejoicing in spring weather and dancing through the daffodils, sheep farmers are grabbing a few minutes sleep between in the car while collecting the children from school and trudging through the fields of sideways rain searching for that one difficult ewe that has wandered off to give birth under some distant hedgerow.  Like extras from the ‘Walking Dead’ with the exhausted pallor of new parents who were unexpectedly presented with quintuplets, these are the sheep farmers of Ireland. Here are seven signs that you are looking at sheep farmers and not remnants from the zombie apocalypse.
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Rural Crime- Let’s not lose ourselves in fear

ruralcraime

Crime in Rural areas continues to be a difficult and worrying issue for country dwellers.  Rural crime has not reduced in the past few years and we are being told by many media outlets that rural crime is actually on the increase. These fear headlines are always popular in terms of selling papers, but do the facts actually point to an increase in threats to people living in the more isolated areas.  Reports from the Gardai cite two or three criminal families as being responsible for a large proportion of the thefts and burglaries around the country. Despite this important piece of intelligence, the statistics for rural crime do show a significant increase.
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Prevention is better than cure. Avoiding farm accidents.

safety-blog

The agricultural industry has a higher incident of injury and fatalities than any other employment sector in Ireland.  Despite publicity and awareness campaigns, the incidents of farm accidents are not decreasing. In fact, the Health and Safety Authority state that farmers only implement safety procedures AFTER they have had a serious accident.  It is time to take action and to reduce these distressing statistics and clearly the responsibility and the motivation for such action lies with farmers themselves.
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Milk & Honey, The Life Of An Irish Dairy Farmer

irish dairy farmer

The weekly log of a dairy farmer’s life is pretty mundane and can have the intensity and the repetition of ‘groundhog day’. Basically you move cows, clean cows, milk cows, clean cows, move cows, milk cows on a never ending carousel of tasks broken only by a spot of trouble shooting as a case of scour or a faulty machine interrupts the flow of milk and work. It’s a demanding job with diminishing returns (for this year anyway) Diary of a dairy farmer. This is what the media says about my demanding job.

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Droning on and on – Technical innovations and agriculture in the past 20 years.

It might be hard to believe it sometimes, but technology is actually making life easier for all of us.

For the average Irish farmer, it certainly might not seem that way at four am on a winter’s morning, as he ties a rope round a calves legs and gets ready to haul him into the world. Freezing hands, sideways rain and the whole planet asleep. Man versus nature, as it has always been. But even for the smaller farmers of this country, advances in technology has made life much easier.  Let’s take a look at some of the innovations which have improved our lives in the past 20 years and at those which promise to make it easier in the farming future.
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