Farm Ireland

Friday 14 December 2018

Dairy Industry Ireland calls on insurance industry to deal positively with issues arising from Storm Emma

Harold Kingston captured this picture of one of his cows struggling in the snow in Cork this week. Pic: @HaroldKingston1
Harold Kingston captured this picture of one of his cows struggling in the snow in Cork this week. Pic: @HaroldKingston1
Blizzard Conditions South Wexford. Pictured at Ballygarvan, Co Wexford during the snow and blizzard conditions this week. Picture: Patrick Browne

Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), the Ibec group that represents the sector, has called on the insurance industry to deal positively to address issues arising at farm level from Storm Emma.

Even as the weather warning downgrades today, much of the country is still in the grip of exceptional weather, with snow drifts and freezing conditions making the collection of milk on farms particularly difficult.

Director of DII, Conor Mulvihill  said: “It is clear that we are in an unprecedented situation, where companies are going as far as they can to maintain a collection service, while at the same time ensuring the safety of farmers, staff and animals.

"As the weather warning downgrades today, collection of milk will resume in certain areas. However, with  some parts of the country not being serviced because of exceptional weather since Tuesday, individual farmers are currently coming under pressure with their milk storage.

“It is important that the insurance industry are pro-active with farmers in terms of what procedures are needed to be put in place to cover any losses arising from the current weather situation."

Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Food Jackie Cahill has warned the Government that thousands upon thousands of gallons of fresh milk will be lost unless milk collection lorries can get access to dairy farms up and down the country.

IFA President Joe Healy has contacted the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and the National Emergency Response Group regarding the urgent situation facing a rapidly rising number of dairy farmers whose milk cannot be collected.

IFA is asking that local authorities would co-ordinate their actions with co-ops to prioritise the clearing of roads leading to dairy farms.

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Joe Healy said milk is normally collected by private hauliers on contract to milk processing co-ops, using both articulated and rigid tankers, the latter being better able to handle difficult conditions. The hauliers have done trojan work since early this week to collect milk before the storm hit, and to keep collections going for as long as possible on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, now, in many of the co-ops’ catchment areas, milk collections have had to be suspended.

“Most dairy farms farmers have static refrigerated milk storage tanks that can hold up to two days’ worth of milk.  Already, some farmers have filled these and they will have to dispose of milk if it is not collected urgently.  

“This is obviously seriously problematic from a food wastage point of view and would cause a massive economic loss to the farmers concerned. If it continues it could also affect the availability of fresh milk on supermarket shelves,” Joe Healy said.

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