Mairead McGuinness to Officially Open Farm Safety Live at the Tullamore Show

Farm Safety Live organisers, FRS Training, HSA and FBD Insurance are delighted to announce that the event, now in its 5th year, will be officially opened by Mairead McGuinness, MEP and First Vice President of the European Parliament, at the Tullamore Show on Sunday 12th of August at 11am.

The organisers want all to go home from the show smarter and with at least one farm safety tip to apply on their home farm. Each year the farm safety event brings something different and this year the focus is on giving smarter tips through the live and interactive demonstrations concentrated around the home farm that can be brought home and smartly implemented. The four areas this year will be on centred around Livestock Handling, Quad Bike Operation, Working From Heights, Tractor and PTO Operation.

Regrettably the overall fatality statistics have not been improving with the main culprits stemming from machinery, tractors, vehicles and livestock, with the young and elderly proving to be the main victims.

Mairead McGuinness MEP and First Vice President of the European Parliament said the number of accidents on farms resulting in deaths and serious injury in Ireland is unacceptably high and said, “Reports of farm accidents involving children, men and women are all too frequent. What lies behind each statistic is a farming family devastated and left to live with the aftermath on the very family farm where the accident took place. We have to do better and address in a holistic way this scourge of the countryside. I believe that initiatives to improve safety should be part of the next CAP. Farm accidents are not unique to Ireland – the issue is an EU wide problem and we need to learn what is working in other EU member states. We need to wake up to the reality that farms are places of work and like all workplaces with machinery (and additionally farming animals), safety routines and awareness and training are necessary. Farmers must put their health and well-being to the fore and stop and think when undertaking a task on the farm and ask what might go wrong, especially when working alone. I commend all associated with highlighting this critically important issue at the forthcoming Tullamore Show.”

Launching Farm Safety Live at the Tullamore Show are the organisers of the event from the HSA (Health & Safety Authority), FRS Training (Farm Relief Services training division) and FBD Insurance with support from the Tullamore Show organisers; (pictured left to right) Jim Dockery, FRS Training Manager, Freda Kinnarney, Tullamore Show Operations Manager, Cathal Burke, FBD Insurance Marketing Manager, Martina Gormley, HSA Inspector, Pat Gilligan, FBD Insurance Head of Sales, Midlands and North-West, Brenda Kiernan, Tullamore Show Chairperson, Jane Marks, FRS Network Marketing Manager, Pat Griffin, HSA Senior Inspector for Agriculture and Caoimhe Kirby, FRS Network Marketing Executive. The event will be officially opened at the Tullamore Show by Mairead McGuinness, MEP and First Vice President of the European Parliament on Sunday 12th August at 11am.

Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector for Agriculture, HSA said, “The fatality and injury stats prove that there is a real problem with how safety is viewed on Irish farms. Safety and health on every farm needs to become integrated into every job and become just how we do things and not an add on or afterthought. There is much talk about smarter farming and we are calling on all farm families who come to the Tullamore show to go away smarter and with safety tips that they can apply at home to improve safety on their farm. Give Priority to 1. Advance Planning 2. Operator Training 3. Manage and Control Machinery & Animal Movement 4. Maintenance Programme & 5. Physical & Mental Health.”

Jim Dockery, Training Manager, FRS Training said, “We realise that farmers and in particular their young and older family members may not actually see the dangers as they go about working or helping out on their home farms each day. This is why each year I see people watching the demonstrations with great interest and see the penny dropping through their facial expressions. They are learning something new that they are not currently doing and we want each person to take at least one tip home and action it. We want each person to go away smarter and hence safer.”

Ciaran Roche, Risk Manager, FBD Insurance said, “Farmers everywhere can join with us to prevent accidents and hopefully save lives by attending events such as Farm Safety Live and by following our Farm Protect initiative. Changing our usual way of doing things can be challenging but because farming is a tough and demanding occupation with plenty of workplace hazards, it’s time to stop taking risks and prevent any unnecessary heartache.”

For more information and videos on the Farm Safety Live event and to win tickets to the Tullamore Show visit, like and share

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News: Free Smarter Milking Events throughout the country

FRS Training, Teagasc and AHI (Animal Health Ireland) have teamed up with four of the leading dairy co-ops around the country, Glanbia, Kerry Agribusiness, Aurivo and Lakeland Dairies, to bring dairy farmers practical demonstrations on how to achieve smarter milking and become more efficient and cost effective.

The smarter milking events will run in June and July and cover the areas of better cow flow, best practice milking technique, standard operating procedures, producing high milk quality and how to be more cost effective and are open to all farmers and farm workers alike.
Cow flow will cover developing positive experiences for the cow on leadup to and in the parlour to improve milk let down and productivity.

Best practice milking techniques includes preparation, milking in batches, cluster management, reducing repetitive strain and teat management. How to write effective standard operating procedures will be covered to provide direction to improve communication and consistency.

The important topic of producing the highest milk quality throughout the milking process, including milk recording, will be demonstrated with specific emphasis on reducing Somatic Cell Counts (SSC) and Thermoduric Bacteria Counts (TBC). Tips on how to reduce energy costs will be shared, which aim to save money.

The overarching source of information shared through these events comes from the Best Practice in Milking Course which has been available to farmers since 2014 and has trained hundreds of new and experienced milkers through the country. This popular 2 day QQI level 6 course is expertly developed and ran in conjunction with FRS Training, Teagasc and AHI and is part funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Pat Reilly, FRS Training said; “We wanted to give farmers the knowledge of how efficient milking can make a big difference on the dairy farm and are delighted that the co-ops see this as an important event for their farmers to attend. We thank them for the support. The events are indeed open to all farmers and we promise that they will be engaging and worthwhile for everyone – where the top tips will be passed on.”

Padraig O Connor, Teagasc said; “This is a great opportunity for dairy farmers and their staff to see first-hand an efficient milking process. With the average herd size increasing combined with larger milking units, the demands on the milker are more challenging. These Smarter Milking Events will outline a practical approach on how dairy farmers and their staff can implement techniques to allow for a more efficient milking process.”

Grainne Dwyer, AHI said;
“AHI is pleased to be involved with the Smarter Milking Events. These events are a collaboration between ourselves, Teagasc, FRS and the Dairy Coops and are designed to assist dairy farmers and their staff in the efficient production of high quality milk which will increase output and profitability”.

Smarter Milking Schedule of Events:

Date: Weds 20th June 2018
Venue: Andrew Claxtons’ farm, Kilminnin, Stradbally, Waterford. Eircode X42YK57

Kerry Agribusiness
Date: Weds 11th July 2018
Venue: John Lawlor, Ballysheen, Abbeydorney, Co. Kerry, Eircode V92 W635

(Parking available at Abbeydorney GAA grounds, shuttle bus service provided.)

Date: Weds 18th July 2018
Venue: Tim Kelly Clorane Athenry, Galway, Eircode H65 XY05

Lakeland Dairies
Date: Thurs 19th July 2018
Venue: David Hannon, Tir Na Ri Farm Ltd, Derrypatrick, Drumree, Co. Meath, Eircode A85 PD65.

If you are interested in attending the event register now on event page.

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News: Remembering those lost to farming accidents throughout Ireland

Embrace FARM the support network for those affected by farm accidents will be hosting its 5th Ecumenical Remembrance Service in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary in Abbeyleix County Laois on Sunday 24th June 2018 at 2.00pm.

Embrace FARM welcomes everyone who wishes to come to the service to acknowledge anyone who has been affected by a farming accident.

This event now in its firth year has been held in Abbeyleix since 2014.

The service is led by Catholic Bishop, Denis Nulty and Church of Ireland Bishop, Michael Burrows with local clergy from the Church of Ireland, Canon Harvey and Roman Catholic, Fr. Cummins.

It is supported by farming organisations and agribusiness such as DAFM, ICMSA, ICSA, IFA, FBD, HSA, HSENI, Macra na Feirme, Teagasc, UFU, YFCU and by the Agri Media from the island of Ireland.

Embrace FARM will be represented by co-founders Norma & Brian Rohan and the voluntary board of directors who give their time freely in the development of the organisation with Norma and Brian.

Embrace FARM were contacted by 130 families to have their loved ones remembered at this year’s Ecumenical Service.

Behind these numbers is a father, mother, a husband, a wife, a child, a relative, someone important to a family and a community.

This is a day to speak their names because they are a part of everything that we do. We speak their names because they will always will be a part of us.

Pictured L2R at the Embrace Farm Accident Survivors Conference in Portlaoise-on November 25 were Norma Rohan, Director Embrace Farm, Seamus Bannon, ABP Food Group with Robert Leonard, Dept. of Agri & Food and Damien O’Reilly, RTE Countrywide programme. Photos by Roger Jones. No reproduction fee.

Light refreshments (sponsored) will be served at the Manor Hotel in Abbeyleix following the event, all are welcome.

Embrace FARM is now fully integrated with the Charities Regulatory Authority in its operation.

It compiled its strategic plan to carry their vision forward from now until 2021 of being ‘a caring and supporting Agri-community for all those affected by farming accidents’

Throughout 2017, Embrace FARM has continued its work in drawing awareness of those affected by farming accidents.

It held residential family weekends in Portlaoise where several families and their children came to share their experiences and support one another in how losing a loved one has impacted and changed their lives.

The first farm accident survivors’ conference was held in November 2017.

For this event, Embrace FARM invited several farm accident survivors to share their stories, a professional panel of experts in sharing how the trauma surviving a farm accident

can affect more than just someone’s physical health and but their own and their families mental and emotional health.

The day was also represented in a practical sense in what supports are there to help families adapt to life post an accident with a professional panel of legal counsel, insurance experts and machinery adaptions.

Embrace FARM will continue its work throughout 2018 and invite you to please keep in touch through their Facebook page at or website.

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News: Farm Trainee did great job on RTE’s Big Week on the Farm

We would like to congratulate Aaron Williams on his appearance as the O’Sullivans farm trainee on the RTE television show ‘Big Week on the Farm’ last week and all his hard work on the farm. Aaron showed the nation that his positive attitude and hard work gave him the chance to get the skills required to become a farm worker.

19-year-old Aaron from Tralee had never even stepped onto a farm before being selected as a trainee for this year’s hit RTE television show ‘Big Week on the Farm’. However, he took to the work like a duck to water.

FRS were part of Aaron’s journey as he was part of the FRS Dairy Operative Skills Programme. People like Aaron with no farming experience can get the experience they need through the FRS programme when they bring the right attitude and strong work ethic.

“I’ve always had an interest in farming and agriculture in general. My dad, John, delivered rations for Kerry Group; when I was younger I used to go around with him. However, it’s hard to get into farming if you’re not born into it or have some connection with a farm.” said Aaron.

Aaron said that the experience was a massive learning curve for him, but he is certain that he wants to pursue a career in farming.

He did his training on the O’Sullivans’ farm with Gillian and Neil playing the super roles as teachers and mentors and they helped him to bring his skills up.

At the end of the live final show on Friday Jane Marks from FRS announced the offer of a job to Aaron with FRS in Kerry, where he is from.

We wish Aaron all the best down the Kerry and encourage others to inquire about the FRS programme.

FRS takes people like Aaron under its wings to bring them through the Dairy Operative Skills Programme. Trainees complete a 20 day programme involving 4 training days in a Teagasc College and 16 days practical work experience on host farms organised by FRS. On successful completion of their training candidates will be offered work through FRS and paid a training rate during the working period.

For further details on the FRS Dairy Operative Skills Programme visit or contact Padraig Madden by e-mail or phone 086 0443945.

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The Final Stretch for Freeze Branding

This year’s freeze branding session is coming to a close, if farmers have not yet branded their cattle now is the time to do so. Realistically – cattle are not that easy to identify individually. At a glance, farmers want to be able to identify their animals so they can keep an eye out for animals showing signs of heat or those that may be showing signs of ill health.

Freeze branding allows the farmer to clearly view all these things and more on their individual animals accurately from a distance.
During the process a unique number is branded onto the animal’s hind with branding irons. This kills the pigment in the hair follicle and the hair grows back white. Freeze branding now plays a very important role in herd management and is obligatory for clear milk recording.

Freeze branding is often a more effective way of identifying the animals, as ear tags often get lost, the tag fades or eventually becomes unreadable due to dirt. There is a certain way in which freeze branding has to be done and in order to do so a professional is needed to carry out the procedure correctly.

When the goal is to get good clear readable brands dry ice and methylated spirits need to be used along with branding irons. Timing also plays a vital role and varies with age, weight and condition of the animal.

The advantages of freeze branding include:

• Freeze brands do not fall off or wear off
• The only permanent identification available for cows
• Ideal for identification in the milking parlour
• Easy to read from a distance
• Essential for stock identification
• Suitable for all animals but the younger the better
• With Dairy herds increasing in size it’s also harder to identify cattle in larger groups so in this case freeze branding is also essential for identification.


Farm relief services currently offer freeze branding and send out operators to help in branding the animals. It is advised that two sets of hands are available to secure the cow being branded. FRS can provide this extra help if required.
For more information or to get an operator to head out to you contact FRS Roscrea on 0505 21166 or FRS Cahir on 052 7441598.

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Article: The Apps that are keeping the Irish farmers content

The world of technology is constantly evolving and so too is farming. Who would have thought a few years ago that your every day farmer would rely on his smartphone as much as he does today. In the past few years, farming has gone through a total digital revolution and is being transformed day to day.

A series of apps have been developed to aid farmers and make their lives that little but easier. Farmers have been “mobile” forever but the difference is that today’s farmer has more access to mobile technology which has all the potential to bring the office to the farm yard. After a lot of research and having spoken to farmers we have complied a list of the top six apps that the average farmers uses day to day routine:

Farmers Journal – For News Updates and Agricultural Advice

The Farmers Journal daily digital news app broke into the iTunes top 100 most downloaded apps in less than two weeks after the launch in 2015. The app is most definitely the voice of farmers in Ireland with 247,000 readers per week. Even though the app has a lot of similar content to the print edition, it gives readers a lot more added benefits such as the ability to download content and read it when offline. You can also search for key words which really saves time when it comes to looking for certain content.

To subscribe head to


Met Eireann – For weather updates on the go

The weather is a big factor in the everyday life of the Irish farmer. Knowing the weather for the upcoming days, weeks and months is vital for a farmer in order to plan the work ahead. The Met Eireann weather app provides an up to date look at the weather along with upcoming and future weather predictions for free.

The app is an invaluable source for farmers and undoubtedly, every farmer does need it. The app includes many features such as:

• Weather warnings
• Latest hourly weather reports
• National and provincial text forecasts
• Sea area forecasts
• Coastal reports

Visit for more


Agriland – the “what’s happening in the farming world today” app

Agriland is one of the largest daily farming news portals in Ireland. The app itself is updated constantly throughout the day with all news farming and agri from not only Ireland but all over the world. The best thing is that there is no subscription or sign in process, so all the content available is completely free. Readers have all news available instantly on their mobiles.
The features include:

• Unlimited scrolling
• A feature to send breaking news alerts directly to your phone
• The option to save stories to read later
• Swipe for the next story feature
• The ability to search for a story
• The option to adjust text size and settings.

Visit for more


Donedeal App – A farmer’s go to app for buying and selling

Dondeal is often described – as being a giant in the farming community. Even though farmers still go to auctions and marts to do their buying and selling, a large amount of famers now carry out their buying and selling through Dondeal.

Through done deal farmers have the ability to buy and sell goods on the go and upload their own content to sell in the click of a button. For farmers, it is much more effective when it comes to making a sale or a purchase. You don’t have to go home and sit at the laptop in the evening, you an keep up to date throughout the day.

Visit and download the app today


Herdwatch – Farm Compliance on tap


Herdwatch is the first cross – platform mobile solution fully approved by the department of Agriculture. The app gives farmers both mobility and peace of mind when it comes to recording legally required information such as calf births and remedies. The app is currently the number one must have app for dairy, suckler and beef farmers with over 7,000 farmers currently using the app across Ireland and the UK. One of the even better things about the app is the fact that you can work offline.
The app offers the following features:

• Easy compliance & valuable farm records anytime, anywhere on your smartphone or tablet for just €130
• Time saving tool that will minimise the time you send on paperwork
• Record Bord Bia remedies and feed purchases
• Paperless farm to farm movement certs
• Calf birth registration in less than a minute
• Record weights in seconds
• Manage full breeding cycle

Get the free trial now and see what it is all about at


Banking online apps – taking the stress out of having to go into the bank


Banking apps have simplified and completely sped up the whole payment process for farmers. All the bank apps today are simple and straight forward for the farmer to set up and use. People including farmers are all sceptical when it comes to giving card details over the phone and now all this can be avoided through the banking online apps.

Farmers now have the ability to see exactly how much has been lodged or taken out of your account completely hassle free. There is no going into the bank to sort out anything financial. It can be done there and then with the click of a button. It is all in your hand.


Technology continues to grow

As Irish farmer’s trust increases in digital markets and mobile apps farming is beginning to grow even more and farming life is becoming that little bit easier with the rapid grow in technology.


Posted in Farm, FRS Farm Services, FRS Network News, FRS Training, Herdwatch

News: Experienced Fencing Operators Required in Cork


FRS Fencing have a strong fencing reputation in Cork and are looking to expand the team with one fencing operator position and one team leader position in our Bandon office. Experience erecting fencing required and further training will be provided. Exposure to various fencing jobs using the most modern equipment – Agricultural, Residential, Sports & Security – throughout west cork and beyond.

E-mail your CV to or call Gordon Kingston on 023 8844200

Posted in FRS Archives

News: Agriculture ranks highest sector for Fatalities for 8th year running – with elderly most vulnerable

Reports from 2017 named the agri-sector as being the most dangerous profession in Ireland for the 8th year running. Figures released show that elderly farmers are the most vulnerable group when it comes to fatal work related accidents. Of the 24 fatal agri-sector accidents accounted for in 2017, 14 of those were male farmers aged over 65.

There was an increase in all sector work related fatalities in 2017 – with 47 fatal accidents recorded in comparison to 46 in 2016 and of these 24 were agriculture related in 2017 up from 21 the previous year.


key fatalities announced by the HSA:

• 2017 marked the highest number of work related fatalities in Ireland to date across all sectors.
• Following Agriculture the construction and transport sectors had the next highest number of fatalities with six each.
• The counties with the highest number of fatalities in 2017 were Dublin, Mayo and Cork with six each. (all sectors)
• Across all of the sectors, accidents involving vehicles made up 21 of all fatalities in 2017. Falls from a height (six) was the most common cause.
• Most fatalities (28) involved 18-65 year old males; there were 14 men, over 65 killed in the agriculture sector.
• One child fatality was accounted for in the agri-sector.
• Of 47 fatalities reported, 18 were self employed, 15 were employees, seven non-workers and seven family workers

Recent Farm Safety Initiatives

On Friday January 12th, Teagasc and the Health and Safety Authority signed a “Joint Initiative Agreement”, to promote farmer health and safety for the next three years. The aim of the initiative is to provide health and safety research, training and advisory support to farmers.

As part of this joint initiative, training on the use of “Farm Safety Code of Practice” will continue to be provided by Teagasc and Agricultural Consultants. Completion of the training is also a requirement for farmers to secure DAFM TAMS11 funding.
The HSA is set to conduct 2,000 farm inspections throughout 2018. Other plans include new guidance for farmers on preventing cow attacks and machinery crush injuries.

During 2018, research on farm accident levels will be conducted by Teagasc through their National Farm Survey.
A jointly funded study on the usefulness of discussion groups in promoting farm safety is also underway by Teagasc.
FRS Training are avid supporters of farm safety and will run many safety courses and farm safety events throughout Ireland. For more information visit or call 1890 201 000.

FRS Training also run TAMS Safety Training Courses. For more information about the course or to see upcoming dates Visit

Posted in Farm, FRS Farm Services, FRS Network News, FRS Training

News: FRS Dairy Operative Skills Programme launch and Ear to the Ground

FRS in conjunction with Teagasc have launched a new Dairy Operative Skills Programme and it featured on RTE Ones’, Ear to the Ground.

FRS milking operators, Jennifer Matthews and Josh Phelan, both successfully completed the programme and were featured along with farmer James O’Brien from Kilkenny on Ear to the Ground.

Watch clip here:

Interested candidates are invited to apply for seasonal work as milkers and farm workers with FRS Farm Relief Services and those who require upskilling will have the unique opportunity to complete a 20 day programme involving 4 training days in a Teagasc College and 16 days practical work experience on host farms organised by FRS.

On successful completion of their training, candidates will be offered work through FRS during the peak months of January/February to May/June 2018. The work could potentially earn an individual up to €8,000 or more and participants will be paid during their training.

The three potential candidate groups that have been identified to take part in the programme and to take up seasonal work to help alleviate labour shortages and are, but not limited to:

• Dry Stock Farmers – on individual farms where there may be capacity to take on a additional part time role.
• Women in Agriculture – who may be interested in work involving milking, calf rearing and livestock husbandry.
• Farmers on Farm Assist and Jobseekers – who are in receipt of a DSP payment and who may be interested in farm work. (FRS advise individuals of the need to discuss their individual position with Dept. Social Protection (DSP), as taking up employment may have implications for their DSP allowances).

Peter Byrne, CEO, FRS Network said “FRS believe that this project is one of a number of possible options including sourcing labour from abroad that must be examined to source and train potential FRS operators’’.

Applicants for the ‘Dairy Operative Skills Programme’ and work with FRS are invited to talk through with their local FRS Office or visit for more details and to apply online.

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Media Centre, Membership Benefit Scheme

Despite the Floods the team at the FRS Stand Ploughed on

Record Breaking attendance

The annual National Ploughing Championships came to an end Thursday last in Screggan, Tullamore after three long eventful days. This year’s event achieved record crowds of 291,500 up 8,5000 on last year with the first day alone bringing in a crowd of 112,500 . The FRS Stand proved once again to be a great success over the three days and although wet conditions and flooding forced us to close our stand early on the second day, our stand and live demonstrations were back in action on the final day.

The FRS team from all of our divisions, Farm Relief, Fencing, Training, Recruitment and Herdwatch were out in force. Outside we had our FRS trainers carrying out live chainsaw demonstrations which drew in the crowds along with fencing demos, which were shown live on the big screen. The crowd were more than happy to get involved in the live demos asking and answering questions and showing their own skills at tying off fencing wire.

Herdwatch Figures on the rise

Herdwatch had a very successful ploughing and were constantly busy in both the FRS Stand and the Innovation Arena. Sales for them were up 20% on last year with the app becoming more and more popular each year amongst farmers. The Herdwatch mascot ‘Herdie’ made a return to the ploughing and people of all ages stopped to have their photo taken with him.

What else happened at the ploughing?

We were delighted to have North Tipperary Hospice helping out at the tea and coffee station where they raised donations of €1,000 which will most definitely be put to good use.

Anyone that was interested in becoming farm relief operators came to chat to the staff and to fill out an online application form that can also be filled out on . The team also launched the new ‘New Zealand / Ireland Live, Learn and Earn Exchange Programme’ – that provides a unique opportunity which will see applicants live the dream, learn on the world’s best farms and further develop their farming skills in each other’s countries during their complementary peak seasons. More details on the exchange are available on

Posted in FRS Farm Services, FRS Network News
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