Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 21 May 2018

Do you have this simple farm equipment that could save your life?

Cliare Fox

Properly installed calving gates, crushes and equipment like leg hoists and head scoops are potentially life-saving equipment on the farm.

"Once the cow is in position you have much greater control on handling. This equipment is a must on any farm calving cows and you might have two or three gates to serve depending how much calving you have," Teagasc advisor JJ Lenehan told the farm safety event in Mullingar.

He also encouraged installing headlocks that are less noisy to avoid agitating the animal and to allow for more flexibility.

Backing bars can be added to existing crushes for increased efficiency.

"The number of times you're there in the yard trying to pick up a bar that's covered in manure, it makes life more straight-forward and more efficient to have one installed," he said. "To encourage animals to move around the crush a curved design can be of help but in a lot of cases you're limited with space and you've to work with what you have but even a curved gate at the entry of a crush can help."

One suckler farmer Michael McDonald from Kilcock, Co Kildare told the Farming Independent that his leg got jammed in one of the bars of a cattle crush and he ended up falling on top of one of the cattle and crushed his calf muscle.

"A lot of it's common sense. We have a state of the art crush, it wasn't primitive but it was one of those things. It was an accident. You need to try avoid as many of them as you can," he said.

Teagasc dairy advisor John Hardy, who farms young bull beef in Mount Lucas, Co Offaly also warned farmers to upskill if they decide to enter the enterprise as measures must be put in place to deal with a 550kg animal.

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"You may only get one chance when it comes to safety. A bullock system is not good enough for young bulls, what chance have you if you're caught on the wrong side of them in the pen.

"Don't go in behind them and force them - there has to be a natural flow, no blind alley and they've to be able to see where they're going."


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