Mucking in for Farm Safety

 

Boom demo at ploughing

Compulsory spraying training and testing will be demonstrated at the FRS Training and HSA Farm Safety Demonstrations at the Grass and Muck highlighting the main health and safety elements of pesticide spraying, handing and sprayer operation and testing. Make sure you are compliant and come along for all the information you need.

 

 

FRS Training (Farm Relief Services), and the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) are rolling up their sleeves and mucking in to bring practical interactive farm safety demonstrations to the forefront of this year’s FTMA Grass and Muck on the 12th of May in Gurteen, Co. Tipperary.

The organisations will be focusing on three farm hazard areas, safe handling of bales and crush zones , PTO safety and spraying compliance in an interactive and engaging way to stress the everyday dangers and show farming families how safety can be improved down on the farm.

An area of focus during the event will be on the safe operation of machinery when handling bales with emphasis on ‘crush zones’ during this task and preventing impact injuries. Topics such as the right equipment and attachment, stacking and de-stacking of bales, transporting and loading bales, will form part of the demonstrations to help farmers to control the hazard and minimise the risks. Information on managing workload, stress and pressure will also be available as these link strongly to the cause of accidents.

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PTO Demonstration set up and ready to show the consequences of an unprotected PTO by FRS Training and the HSA at the FTMTA Grass and Muck on May 12th. Make sure to go along to find out ways to improve farm safety on your farm and to see the consequences live.

Speaking about ‘crush zone’ accidents, Pat Griffin Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority says: “I believe many of these crush injuries and deaths are actually caused by excessive workload, pressure, stress, improvising and taking short cuts. These factors coupled with fatigue, can be a lethal combination. By managing workload the risks can be reduced.”

Turning to an area that farmers need to be compliant in and protect their health and the environment is pesticide spraying and sprayer testing, which will be demonstrated on the day. Along with the safe operation of PTO’s the farm safety demonstrations will cover many areas that are important for farmers to know.

There was a 40% decrease in the number of fatalities last year compared to the year before, but farming remains the most dangerous occupation in Ireland. Around 2,500 non-fatal accidents causing injury occur on farms annually, which are not widely communicated, but often heavily impact on the continuation of the farm work and the farmer. FRS Training and the HSA are very proactive when it comes to bringing public awareness to farm safety and strives to reduce these figures once again by bringing these live demonstrations to farmers.

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The consequences of an unprotected PTO demonstrating the shredding impact that can happen, which will be demonstrated by FRS Training and the HSA at the FTMTA Grass and Muck on May 12th. Make sure to go along to find out ways to improve farm safety on your farm.

Jim Dockery from FRS Training said “we encourage farmers to ‘Farm Safely & Responsibly’. This involves training themselves, their staff and their families through the many health and safety courses and demonstrations available. At the event we will demonstrate the consequences of poor farm safety practices and demonstrate the simple practical changes that can be made to achieve good farm safety practices.”

Pat Griffin from the HSA said “events like these are important to bring farm safety to the fore in an engaging way and to give people practical advice to remember and implement on their return to the farm.”

Preparations are currently underway for the FTMTA Grass and Muck which is taking place on May 12th so be sure to head along to the Farm Safety Demonstration stand on the day.  There will be plenty of practical demonstrations ongoing, including safe bale handling, Tractor PTO demos, and pesticide sprayer safety demos as well as some excellent general farm safety advice.

On the run up to the show, FRS is giving away a set of tickets to the Grass and Muck.  To be in with a chance of winning a set of these tickets visit www.facebook.com/FRSnetwork   Like, Share and Tag two friends on the post to be entered into the draw.

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Farming – Sticking with it Since Day One

Barry O’ Gorman’s farm is situated about 4 miles outside of Thurles town where he lives with his wife Bridget and three children Stephanie, Fiachra and Tadhg.  Barry is farming over twenty years and over those years has availed of many of the services farm relief has to offer. One year on after the milk quota abolition, many changes have happened on farms throughout Ireland Barry in particular is satisfied with where his farm is currently at.

Farming life is very important to Barry who says he has “stuck with it from day one”.  His farm is spread across 200 acres which keeps him busy on a day to day basis.  Over the past year since the abolition of the milking quotas he has planned and expanded his herd to suit his requirements.

“We have increased numbers over the past year from 90 to 140.  We’re farming 200 acres and we keep a small store to store beef as well”.

Farm Relief offer many services to their customers and Barry loves the fact that he can avail of the services if and when he needs them.  Barry does not have the need to have workers constantly on the farm but when he needs work done he never has to worry.

“In our situation, the farm isn’t big enough to sustain a labour unit but we use Farm Relief whenever we need them which is great.”

 

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Farmer Barry O’ Gorman and Son Fiachra working away on their farm just outside Thurles Co. Tipperary

 

The past few months have proved rather busy for Barry with Calving season.  During this time Farm Relief sent him out a worker who helped him ‘religiously’ during the peak times.

“My worker only finished last Saturday, he was with me for 8 weeks because we were so busy and needed help during the calving season.”

Barry and his workers hit the ground running at the start of calving season and calved 90% of his cows.  It greatly helped having help on his side to get the work done efficiently.

“We calved 90% of our cows in the first six weeks of the season from the first of February right up to Paddy’s day.  That time is our peak demand and the worker from Farm Relief was there for me 6 days a week during that time which was great.”

Like any other farmer, Barry needs help every once in a while especially when it comes to the more skilled and specialised farm tasks like Freeze branding, de-horning and hoof care.

“I definitely need help with the more skilled stuff like hoof care and the freeze branding.  I need someone trained and skilled to come in and do that and the FRS workers I get never have a bother.”

Even though Barry’s family help him out every now and again he relies on the help of the trained Farm relief workers to come out and help him.  For him it’s complete satisfaction and reassurance knowing the work will get done whilst he carries on with other farm work.

“We can’t sustain the labour unit all the time and I can’t be relying on the family labour, they do help out but they are not there all the time – you can’t expect them to be.  Farm Relief are always obliging.  I would most definitely recommend them.  The workers are all skilled and have been on training courses too so they know what it is all about and always get stuck right in.”

For the near future Barry doesn’t plan to expand much more and is happy with his increase to 140 cows.  It was a target reached and he is satisfied.  Due to the increase in numbers, Barry predicts this summer to be pretty hectic for them and so plans to contract out farm relief for the evening milkings.  For him the beauty of the whole thing is being able to continue working on his farm worry free.

“This summer because our numbers have increased we will contract out the evening milking to Farm Relief and that’s my plan going forward.  I won’t have to worry at all and can go on about my business while they tend to the milking.  It’s great really”.

Barry also has the added peace of mind that if he couldn’t work his farm tomorrow due to an accident or sickness he could call in FRS to take over under his membership benefit scheme visit www/farmrelief.ie/membership for more details on the scheme.

Contact FRS Roscrea on 0505 21166 or FRS Cahir on 052 7441 598 and like the FRS Facebook page.

 

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Article: Aid for the demanding Calving Season

As we all prepare for a busy caving season FRS have positions available for experienced milkers and general farm workers to meet the seasonal demand. Go to www.frsfarmrelief.ie/careers to download an application form today and e-mail or post it to your nearest FRS office.
Farmers are advised to book their operators now as demand is high.
Taking the hassle out of registering your calves
Farmers will be all too familiar with the compliance requirements around calving, such as the necessity to tag and register calves within 27 days of their birth. This can now be done in seconds and on the go with the Herdwatch App on the go.
Before Herdwatch there was only 2 ways of registering calves compliantly: by post or by computer, and that usually meant working late at night. Now you can do away with paperwork or switching on your computer late at night. With Herdwatch, you can register your calves in 30 seconds from a smartphone or tablet App, anytime, anywhere.
Unlike with postal calf registration, you don’t have to pay for stamps & ink, and you get immediate feedback from the Department, which means most inconsistencies or data entry errors can be picked up and corrected immediately, rather than having to wait 3 or 4 days to find out in the post.
Visit www.herdwatch.ie today or text FRSTIPP to 51444 for a call back from the Herdwatch team.

Pre-Calving Preparations
Now is the time to do a pre-calving walk-through of your pens, chutes and calving pens. All equipment and calving areas should be clean and ready to use. It’s always better to prepare these items in the light of day rather than scrambling to make them right at night when the first calf in on its way.
Every farmer needs the following supplies on hand during calving: disposable obstetrical sleeves, calving Jack, injectable antibiotics, lubricant and disinfectant. Other helpful items to have around are flashlights, old towels and even a bucket of non-detergent soap and warm water. If possible, make up a portable kit so you can quickly move your supplies to wherever your cow is calving.

Help is on Hand
The spring is a very busy time on the farm and farmers work long hours with very little sleep. Rushing can cause unnecessary accidents so work at a steady pace and get labor in to help alleviate the pressure. Having supports in place to fall back on, if or when you need them, will bring you through this busy time more effectively and safely.

Even more Support

Join the FRS Membership Benefit Scheme and get reduced farm services rates, Sickness & Accident Support and Death & Capital Benefit for only €295 – That is Peace of Mind for Only 81c per day. Visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/membership for more details.

Contact your local FARM RELIEF SERVICES @
Parkmore Carrigeen Ind Est.
Roscrea Cahir
0505-21166 052-7441598
www.frsfarmrelief.ie www.stippfrs.ie

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Article: The Strive To Expand

In 2015, for the first time in over 30 years, farmers can now expand milk production without the hassle of milk quotas. The whole abolition of quota presents great opportunities for dairy farmers to expand. There will be undoubtedly success for many, for others, however, expansion may bring heavier workloads and increased stress without any long term benefits.
The main requirement for the whole expansion process is that it is stainable from all aspects for the business perspective. This basically means, that the business should focus on the accurate conversion of home grown feed to saleable products that are recognised as being of high quality and are safe to consume.
In a lot of cases, expansion is not planned effectively. There is no money in expansion the money only starts to come in once you have expanded. From farm to farm, the amount of investment needed varies. Expansion costs are indeed very individual.
Getting ready for expansion or conversion can be a challenging as well as a rewarding experience, here are the main tips and advice to help you along the way in your expansion:

• Plan your farm with labour efficiency in mind, design sheds, roads, yards, milking parlour and handling facilities with cow and operator comfort and safety in mind and also with the objective of getting the job done quickly.
• Plan your time in advance to make the best use of it and your farm worker’s time. Don’t be afraid to delegate and don’t get over worked as it will do you no favours in the long run.
• Use only skilled, trained, insured staff. FRS can provide this as well as giving you one invoice which is tax deductible. Black market labour can be very costly if the work is not carried out correctly, it can also end up costing you more if you compare to the net cost of using FRS (including for tax deductibility).
• Make a plan for your record-keeping, don’t let paperwork get on top of you or keep you from the important business of farming. Check out Herdwatch our new software and app for herd management to make your paperwork and compliance recording more efficient. It saves farmers up to four hours per week on paperwork. www.herdwatch.ie for more information.
• Evaluate your own training needs – enrol in the FRS/AHI/Teagasc, Best Practice in Milking Course – it should improve your routine and milk quality. It will also gain you a FETAC Level 6 Certificate. Identify any other training needs you may have and get your-self upskilled eg. financial, time management, chainsaw safety, spraying operations, Quad bike etc. Check out www.frstraining.com for specialised agricultural and business courses.
• Protect your livelihood by planning for unforeseen circumstances such as accident or illness. Join the FRS Membership Benefit Scheme which gives you the peace of mind that your farm will be looked after if you are unable to work. Visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/membership for further details.
• Make sure your farm is a safe and comfortable working environment. Are there any areas which could be made safer or more efficient? Complete or update your safety statement and check out farm safety courses available through www.frstrainig.com.
• FRS can help you to plan for expansion, call us for confidential, no-obligation free advice. We can tailor packages to suit your farm needs.
Realistically sustainable expansion has three main aims: Firstly, It should be profitable for the farmer. Secondly, it should look after the environment and thirdly it should improve the lifestyle of the farmer over all. It is already evident since the abolition of milk quotas that there is going to be a significant increase in milk production over the coming years.
If you are looking for any expansion tips or advice do not hesitate to contact FRS on (0505) 22100 or visit our website www.frsfarmrelief.ie

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Article: Proper Milking Routine – Less Strain, More Efficiency

Last year proved to be a great success for the Best Practice in Milking course with, 400 farmers having completed the course and upskilling their milking practices nationwide. The course which is in conjunction with FRS, Teagasc and AHI is well underway this year, with great interest being shown once again.
Martin Davin, a farmer from Eglish in Rathdowney County Laois, successfully completed the Milking Course last year. Martin himself admitted that prior to completing the milking course, he suffered constant strain to his shoulders and wrists due to the style of milking he had adopted over the years.
“Before completing the milking course I always had pain in my shoulders and wrists from the way I was milking. Now my shoulders and wrists don’t get sore anymore. Once you have done the course, you start milking the way it should be done” said Martin.
For Martin, the course opened his eyes to how a proper milking routine should be carried out. Even though it takes a couple of weeks to adjust to the new milking routine, he found he got very use to it and clearly sees how well it works.
“One of the benefits of the actual milking routine would be the fact that I can milk each row with alternative hands now. It’s a huge benefit.” said Martin.
The course shows farmers how to make life easier by learning how to milk effectively and efficiently. Martin was completely satisfied with how the course went for him and how he adapted it so well on his own farm.
“The biggest thing I got out of the milking course was the whole milking routine, learning how to milk the cows and the proper way to do it. Also keeping your area clean and yourself clean is vital, even down to wearing gloves at all times. It’s all hugely important. For me, a proper milking routine is very important because you will be doing it for 20 or 30 years of your life. If you don’t have it at the start get it and pass it on.” said Martin.
Having seen the difference between how he once milked in comparison to now, Martin has seen all the benefits and could recommends others to do the milking course.
“The practical side of milking is great, there’s so much to learn if you want to learn, if you don’t want to learn then you never will”.

The training is designed to make life that little bit easier for the farmer. Putting less strain on both the Farmer’s life and Body. From start to finish the milking routine has an important bearing on the efficient and hygienic removal of milk from the udder. The course itself is designed to develop the skills of the milker to ensure that all cows are milked effectively and efficiently and reduce preventable waste by producing lower somatic cell counts (SCC) and better milk quality.
“The importance of routine cannot be over emphasised. Cows are creatures of habit and the more you can make each day exactly the same as the previous day the more relaxed and productive they’ll be. So, good milking technique begins by following a predictable routine.” (Teagasc)
The Milking course teaches the components of an efficient milking process or routine, which are:
• Preparation for Milking
• Parlour Preparation
• Row filling
• Preparation in batches and maximising milk let down
• Cluster attachment
• Cluster removal
• Teat disinfection
• Row exit
• Parlour hose down
When employing an efficient milking routine, milkers can achieve somatic cell count (SCC) and total bacterial count (TBC) levels of less than 100,000 and less than 10,000 cells per ml respectively and milking row times of less than 9 minutes. (Teagasc)
From the farmers who have completed the course, it is obvious that one of the main problems that constantly arise from farmers milking habits is strain. Due to habits which have developed over their years of milking, farmers complain of suffering with back pain, shoulder pain and wrist pain.
Successful completion of the ‘Best Practice in Milking Course’ results in a FETAC/QQI level 6 certificate. Martin along with all those who completed the course will be receiving their certificates of completion at the end of August. The course involves two days training followed by an assessment and includes practical on-farm milking sessions.
For those who are interested in doing the course visit www.frstraining.com/milkingcourse , alternatively call Kevin Fitzpatrick at 086 0280450 or email info@frstraining.com. Like and share www.facebook.com/milkingcourse

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Article: As Summer hits it’s time to dose

 

 

farm-services

Rain and warm humid weather are ideal conditions for the development of infectious diseases during these summer months. Worm infections in particular are widespread. As summer progresses calves eat more grass and the risk of infection rises. Stomach worm can cause up to 50% loss in performance. It’s vital that the health of a farmer’s stock is constantly treated for worms.
Stomach worms are present as larvae which have survived from the previous season and others arise because they are passed through the gut of a cow. Calves which have not been exposed to this infection before have no immunity, so the larvae multiply in their stomachs. This leads to the spread of infection very quickly. Animals will be up to two years old before full immunity develops. Although cattle develop resistance over time, dosing for all animals is still usually required around July.

 

HOW BEST TO TREAT THE ANIMALS?
There are an enormous range of products on the market to treat worms in animals – ranging from the oral dose, to the injection, to a pour on or bolus. It cannot be said that any one product is better than another, but the longevity of activity against worms can vary in the type of product used.
The white wormer that is orally dosed is probably the cheapest form of treating cattle with worms, but it also has the shortest activity length against worms. The many Ivermectin injections have various activity lengths and price wise, per animal, are slightly dearer than a white wormer, but are effective. Pour ons are again very effective and are extremely easy to use especially from a labour point of view. Weather may be a problem when using a pour on as a few hours of drying are required after application to allow it to soak in. Finally, a bolus can be given to stock orally, which is lodged in the animal’s stomach where it remains slowly releasing and killing worms during the grazing period. It’s a once off dose which, from a labour point of view, makes it very attractive, but is more expensive than any of the other forms of treating animals.

 

WILL OLDER STOCK BENEFIT

Some older stock on the farm will benefit from a worm treatment at this time of year, namely yearling stores and in particular suckled yearlings, who would not have been as prone to worm infestation in their first year of growth.. Cows in general this year are showing more signs of worm infestation with persistent coughing been remarked by many farmers. If such is to be heard in your stock it is advisable to treat the herd.

 

BEING AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF FLUKE
It may seem strange to mention Fluke at this time of year as we associate treating animals for fluke infestation during the late autumn and winter months. However if you happen to kill any animals in the factory over the coming weeks it is worth noting on the factory sheet return has the factory indicated whether fluke was active in any of the animals that were killed. We sometimes naively believe that because we dosed an animal maybe once over the winter period that all the fluke have been killed off in that animal. Unfortunately that may not be the case and if any few have been left behind they can multiply very rapidly again. It is estimated that €90 million is lost in the irish agricultural industry each year due to the presence of fluke. When routinely treating for worms throughout the summer it may be well worth while treating at least once during that period for fluke as well.

 

WHAT IS THE CORRECT DOSAGE TO GIVE?
All animal dosing products provide details on how much product to give an animal with regard to the weight of that animal. The hardest part from a farmers point of view is estimating the actual weight of the animal they are about to treat. The FRS cattle weighing service can be very helpful as it gives accurate animal weights and is an indicator of how animals are performing.

 

KEEPING SAFETY IN MIND
Keep safety in mind at all times when dosing. Safe handling of the animal, the product one is using and the safety of the operator are important. Ensure facilities are stock friendly and secure. Wear protective clothing when handling dosing products and dispose of used product needles etc. in a safe and environmental friendly manner. From the operator point of view – don’t take chances – what might appear to be a very quiet bucket fed calf could have a very strong kick.

 

FRS CAN ASSIST
FRS Cahir have a wide extensive range of animal wormers at very competitive prices. We can also chat to you about what product may best suit the stock you wish to treat and what’s of best value. FRS have a very experienced team of operators to assist you when dosing and handling livestock.

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News: More farmers set to upskill their milking practice

Father and son at best practice in milking course

 

FRS (Farm Relief Services) launched the “Best Practice in Milking” course in conjunction with Teagasc and AHI (Animal Health Ireland) in July of last year.  The course itself proved to be a complete success.  Almost four hundred farmers have upskilled their milking practices through the course and are currently in the process of receiving their highly commendable FETAC/QQI level 6 certifications.

Participants had positive feedback to give about the course.  From beginners to the utmost experienced, each participant had something great to say about the course and the way in which it was taught.  Some even admitted that milking all your life does not necessarily mean you know everything about it, “I have been milking all my life, didn’t think there was anything I didn’t know!  But I was wrong AGAIN”. 

Minister Coveney launching Milking course at MSJ with FRS Teagasc and AHI LOW RES

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD, officially launched the milking course last year on behalf of FRS, Teagasc and AHI.

At the launch Minister Coveney said; “By improving standards and improving current farming practices through this milking course will help take the industry to the next level and to where we need to be in order to provide the best practice efficiently and compete on wider international stage.  The department is backing this course through its funding and encourages farmers to upskill their current practices and new entrants to put the best foot forward and complete the course”.

The course is suited to all level of expertise.  Some of the previous participants felt that the course should be compulsory for those new to dairy.  “Excellent course. Should be made compulsory for new entrants”.

Every area of the milking routine is covered throughout the duration of the course including; Preparation for milking, Machine parts/components, Milk quality (SCC&TBC), Mastitis prevention, Washing routines, Animal diseases, Health and safety and many other essential aspects to ensure an efficient dairy system is in place.

Undoubtedly, the course itself is extremely unique as it brings together the theory parts of milking and also the practical implementation of the theory.   A customised DVD aids the delivery of the course and acts as a reference guide in the future.  All course tutors and directors have been specifically trained and course content approved by the experts in the area of milking.

Past participants were enthusiastic and highly recommended farmers to do the course, “I would recommend to all farmers because you would learn so much and “All farmers should do it, excellent course”.

 

Best Practice John in GurteenPlans are currently under-way for the next tranche of milking courses, which are due to commence this coming July 2015 and will be running throughout the country.  The course is open to all levels of milking experience from new entrants and people interested in relief milking to experienced dairy farmers.

Currently the cost of the course is €250, reduced from €500 due to a €250 department subsidy.  With the success of last year’s course FRS, Teagasc and AHI hopes that this year will be as successful.

Peter Byrne, CEO FRS Network says; “FRS have been providing milking training to FRS relief milkers and farmers for 35 years, but we wanted to standardise the course to improve the consistency of its delivery and also give certification of achievement to participants that recognises the hard work they have put in and the learning value that they have received.  We are delighted with the response so far and will continue to progress with the confidence that the milking course is delivering what it set it do.”

For more information on the course or if you wish to book a spot for July:

Visit www.frstraining.com/milkingcourse, alternatively call 1890 20 10 00 or Kevin Fitzpatrick at 086 0280450.  Drop us an email at info@frstraining.com.

For updates visit and like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/frsmkilkingcourse

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