Farming is by far one of the most physically and mentally demanding jobs in Ireland today. Figures show that farmers continue to work the longest hours with some even going the whole working year without taking time off. This in the long run effects both their health and their physical ability. Farming can be a hazardous activity that presents a wide range of threats to health. The principle causes of farmer’s ill health are associated with manual handling, lung problems, infections and noise. Of farmers with occupational ill health, 50% suffer from chronic back pain.
In order for farmers to maintain good health the following should be considered:
- Always think safe lifting: When lifting always bend your knees to avoid hurting your back or pulling something.
- Reduce lifting: Basically avoid carrying loads all at once, take your time and if needs be use a mechanical device to lift them. Getting someone to help out is always a good option.
- Assess your load at all times: Take a look at the job ahead, if it is too heavy get help or else lift it mechanically.
- Avoid slips and trips: Keeping the farm yard tidy at all times will help prevent having slips and trips. Ensure there is good lighting in the farmyard and buildings.
- Cover all open wounds: Cover cuts and any open wounds with a waterproof plaster or dressing to avoid infection.
- Keep vermin at bay: Control vermin by putting a control programme in place on the farm.
- Reduce noise: Use ear plugs or earmuffs in noisy areas.
- Remember sun protection: Farmers spend long hours outdoors especially during the summer months so skin is constantly exposed to the sun’s rays. Wearing sun protection is vital to protect your skin and prevent skin damage.
Undoubtedly, your health is vital in order to be effective as a farmer. Taking time off from the farm to unwind and spend time with their family should be a priority every year for the farmer. This is where FRS Farm Relief Services can help.
FRS work with farmers throughout Ireland helping them to take the time out that they deserve. Experienced operators are sent out to the farm to take over while the farmer is away. This enables farmers to head away leaving their minds at ease.
Jeremy O’ Hanlon from County Cork has been using the FRS service for 6 or 7 years.
“I have the same guy, James Barry, coming to me from FRS for the past 6 or 7 years so he knows all the ropes. I’m delighted to be getting the same lad every year. I’m happy with that because I know he will get the job done and I can enjoy the holiday with my family knowing that there’s a confident guy running the show”.
FRS also offer a Membership Benefit Scheme which provides sickness and accident support that entitles members to the services of an experienced FRS operator to cover the work on the farm while the farmer is getting back to good health.
Micheal Byrne from Greystones availed of his FRS membership and was delighted with how it helped him out when he needed it most:
“I would not hesitate what so ever in recommending the scheme to other farmers. It did benefit me no doubt about it. In this particular case it was definitely value for money. It was well worth it.”
For more information on what FRS has to offer and how we can help you when you need it the most visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie or call FRS Roscrea on 0505 21166 or FRS Cahir on 052 7441 598.
Brian Reidy, a suckler farmer from Ballylooby near Cahir in County Tipperary, calves down around 50 mostly Charolais Cows. Around 60% of these cows calve during the autumn months. Brian runs his own dairy and beef nutrition consultancy Premier Farm Nutrition as well as farming. This means that he spends a lot of time on the road which makes it even harder for him to keep on top of his farm compliance paperwork. Two years ago, Brian joined Herdwatch and found it was the solution to his problem, making life on the farm and on the road a whole lot easier for him.
Taking the stress out of the Bord Bia audits
With the Herdwatch app, Farmers can record all of their Bord Bia remedies for cattle and sheep. Brian says “I record all my treatments and feed purchases in Herdwatch as they happen”. The whole audit process can be a stressful time for farmers, however Brian found using the app made a big difference: “my last audit was so easy, he just went through the report I printed from Herdwatch while we had a coffee in the house”.
Get your cows back in calf quicker
Keeping a tight calving pattern can prove to be quite difficult when the majority of your cows are being served indoors, Brian now finds Herdwatch helps him greatly with this: “When I see a cow bulling, I record the heat in Herdwatch in advance of the breeding season”. Brian also loves the breeding reminders on the app: “I’m always checking Herdwatch for when a cow is due to repeat or for cows that have not come into heat yet”. Recording all his serves and scanning results in Herdwatch means that “there is no more rooting through pieces of paper or looking at excel sheets, it’s all there in the one app, that’s the beauty of Herdwatch”.
Calves registered in seconds
Brian explains how the app helps at calving time: “When I’m registering calves, I literally have all the information there in Herdwatch, so I can register the calves as I tag them”.
Average Daily Gains at your fingertips
Knowing your animal’s average daily gain is the key to profitability, Brian finds this part of the app really effective: “It’s really handy, you can run a calf through the scales, put the weight into Herdwatch and it will calculate the average daily gain for you. I’m achieving an ADG of 1.2 to 1.4kg for my autumn calves”.
All your records in one place
Herdwatch lets you look at an animal’s history and make informed decisions, anytime, anywhere, even with no internet access. Brian’s father Pat also has Herdwatch on his phone which makes life even easier, “If I’m working away and he is wondering about a cow or a calf, he can just check it on his phone, it’s that easy, it’s all there on all our devices”.
Brian is part of a community of thousands of farmers using Herdwatch at only €99 per year. Get your 1 month free trial and see how Herdwatch will change the way you farm for the better!
A free trial is currently available on www.herdwatch.ie. For more info or to request a call back text ‘frs HW112’ + your name to 51444
During this time of year it is vital to take extra care when operating your tractor on and off road. Statistics show that tractors and machinery are the main causes of farm accidents in Ireland. The fatality rate in agriculture is far higher than any other sector.
Tractors nowadays have become increasingly larger in size and much faster in speed making them more dangerous for drivers, especially inexperienced drivers. The vast majority of accidents occur when using a tractor on its own firstly and secondly when attaching or using it with other implements.
It is important to put safety first and take the necessary precautions when it comes to driving your tractor this summer. Here are the top ten tips to take into account for safe tractor driving:
1) Daily Checks: It is always important to carry out daily checks on your tractor before you drive it to ensure everything is in working order. Make sure the tractor is in safe operating condition. Check the lights are working, keep steps clean at all times for access and check the PTO and lift arm controls.
2) Safe Stop Procedure: Always practice the Safe Stop procedure. Cut back the throttle in good time, wait until the tractor has slowed down sufficiently, press clutch pedal, apply brakes gradually, always park in a suitable location, stop the engine and apply the handbrake, lower all hydraulically mounted equipment and finally remove the key.
3) Safe Tractor Position Method: Carry out the Safe Tractor Position Method. When getting in and out of the tractor always use access steps and hand supports, adjust seat position to operate controls comfortably and adjust mirror for clear view.
4) Keep tractor clear of hazards: Always keep floors, doors, pedals clear and keep your boots clean. Do not keep items like tools, draw bar pins, ropes etc on the cab floor as these cause easy distraction when driving and can cause accidents.
5) Be aware off all blind spots: When driving ensure that there is nobody near you before starting the engine, always watch out for people, obstacles and blind spots. Take time to clean windows and mirrors for visibility and always check that the brakes are locked together.
6) Take your time and be aware: When driving never move the tractor off until you are fully aware of how all controls operate and where they are. Take your time and never rush when operating the tractor. Use throttle-correct procedure for slowing down, when reversing use mirrors and use the horn to warn by-standers. Lower your gears gradually when preparing to stop.
7) Use the correct hitch system: When hitching always make sure you use the right hitch system. Only use the controls from tractor seat and never stand between tractor and other machines or behind them. Never stand with your feet under or near draw bars and ensure that jacks, skids and other supports are used and maintained.
8) Experience is necessary when handling the tractor: It is advisable to have inexperienced people supervised when hitching and unhitching trailers and implements. Never get between a hydraulically mounted machine and the tractor or place your feet under parts that can collapse e.g. a drawbar.
9) Always check the terrain: When in the tractor and carrying out work always make sure the terrain over which the tractor is driven is free from hazards such as steep slopes or excavations.
10) Beware of danger from overhead lines: Tractors or machinery should never be operated if a danger from overhead electricity lines exist.
Safe Tractor Driving Skills
FRS Training are currently running a Safe Tractor Driving Skills Course which is sponsored by FBD trust. The course has proven extremely popular over the years with groups especially secondary schools throughout the country.
The main focus of the course is to teach young people how to operate and drive a tractor safely, with practical instruction being a key component of the training. The course covers PTO shaft safety, safe tractor control procedures, trailed equipment and safe tractor operations, and brings the awareness of safety back to the farm.
Embrace FARM Remembrance Service
The third annual Embrace FARM Remembrance Service will be held on Sunday June 26 in the church of The Most Holy Rosary in Abbeyleix. Embrace FARM was founded in 2014 to provide a bereavement support group for farm families who have lost a loved one or suffered serious injury in a farming accident. Visit www.embracefarm.com for more information.
Contact FRS Training on 1890 20 1000 and visit www.frstraining.com for more information on Farm Safety courses.
FRS Network is a farm service provider to the Irish Farming Industry since 1980 and now seeks an enthusiastic Business Development Manager to drive its business forward. This exciting opportunity will involve analysis of current and new business growth areas, strategic planning and delivery of results.
Role will include:
Operator recruitment planning and development
Analysis and development of growth strategies for current and new business opportunities
Use of IT and social media to drive business forward
Supporting and mentoring FRS managers and staff
Ideal candidate will have:
Proven record in people and business management
Development and delivery of strategic business plans with proven results
2-3 years experience
Good communication skills
Enthusiastic and motivated about the role
Own car and full drivers licence
Academic business background and a background in the Agricultural Industry would be beneficial
Please e-mail CV to firstname.lastname@example.org