Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Delays could force farmers to spill milk

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

DAIRY farmers could be forced to spill milk if freezing weather conditions continue.

Milk tankers are having trouble reaching some farms in the areas worst affected by ice and snow. However, co-ops say that while they are experiencing difficulties, so far they are managing to collect the milk, though at a slower pace.

Some co-ops have dispatched smaller vehicles to the hardest-hit farms that have become inaccessible to large bulk lorries.

ICMSA has lambasted what it called the inaction of local authorities to get to grips with the problem.

Its rural development committee chairman, John O'Donnell, said the problem could easily be solved if a concerted effort were made.

"Secondary roads are downright dangerous and I believe that agricultural contractors and farmers could supply a gritting service that would change the situation for the better within an hour," Mr O'Donnell said.

"County councils should get going in this direction, they are the body with the first and most direct responsibility for the day-to-day welfare of their isolated and rural communities, and it's up to the local councillors to get their local authorities moving towards practical solutions and out of their present excuse-mode."


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The IFA says the current weather conditions have made the working day longer and more difficult for farmers.

Dairy committee secretary Catherine Lasquerettes said frozen pipes and water troughs posed a more immediate challenge for farmers because milk volumes were lower at this time of year.

"Milking parlours need a lot of water and there's a whole big job involved in getting started in the morning," she said. "The work day has become a lot longer and harder as they have to put in extra hours defrosting pipes and gritting."

Donegal Creameries said that a small number of its suppliers had to dump milk.

"We're struggling to get it all in but we have a number of smaller vehicles on the road so we're managing reasonably well now," a spokesman said.

Dairygold said it had managed to collect all milk available for collection, though at a much slower pace.

A spokesman for Kerry Co-op said that although volumes of liquid milk were extremely low, it was experiencing problems in some outlying areas, though nothing serious.

Similarly, Lakeland Dairies said milk collection rounds were proving difficult but milk was being collected, albeit with some delays to service.

The spokesman added that all processing operations were continuing as normal.

Irish Independent