With 2020 coming to an end, farmers need to set aside some time and plan for next year. As Spring is a busy time on Irish farms, farmers must take the necessary steps to prepare themselves, their facilities and think about labour requirements.
Organisation is key, and with research showing that the average farmer in Ireland works an estimated of 49 hours per week, we recommend farmers use the remainder of December to set themselves up for the busy time ahead.
Here at FRS, we have put together pointers for consideration so farmers can be ready for Spring.
It is important to consider the financial side to any business and recognise areas of growth. If something did not work last year, take time to review and decide whether a different approach could work better. Knowing your numbers can help plan for work that needs to be carried out on the farm and making the right decisions for your business.
Create a planner of seasonal jobs, how you will approach them and if you need to plan them in advance. Slurry is the first task for many farmers in the new year. Think about what tanks should be emptied first, which paddocks needs slurry and if splash plate or trailing shoe would be more suitable for your land.
On from slurry, the majority of farmers would be calving and calf rearing. Make sure you have the essential equipment i.e calving jack, gloves, gels and check to see if your calving pens and gates need any repairs. Order and have available all necessary veterinary supplies. Also, now is the time to set up or make any changes to a calving camera.
The assessment of labour is an area that many farmers struggle with. Farmers may not need someone full time, but an extra set of hands would be beneficial during the busy season. It is important for farmers to know their limits and be realistic based on previous workloads. There are labour options available for farmers through FRS Farm Relief Services.
During Winter, farmers may undertake repairs to buildings and outhouses. It is important to always remember farm safety and do not start a job if you do not have the correct tools or equipment. Be conscious of dark evenings, always tell someone of your plans and what time you expect to be finished. Always carry a charged-up torch and mobile phone with battery. Heavy rainfall and strong winds can also make slow down progress and make conditions dangerous.
However, if an accident does happen it is better to be covered. FRS have a Membership Benefit Scheme suitable for all farmers. We know it is important for your farm to continue working even when you are unable to work it, due to a sickness or accident. The Sickness & Accident Support provides you with the safeguard of FRS to keep the farm on track while you get back on your feet. The membership also gives better value rates and a Death and Capital Benefit to you as a member. Visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/membership for more details.
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