The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has urged agricultural contractors to follow the strict measures that have been put in place by the UK Government to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
It has said that it is vital that agricultural contractors are taking all precautions on-farm, as well as off-farm, to support these efforts.
Due to their line of work, agricultural contractors have been placed on the list of ‘essential workers’ during this period.
UFU deputy president, Victor Chestnutt said, “With a change in the weather and spring tasks such as the planting of crops, spreading of slurry and fertiliser needing to be done, it is vital that agricultural contractors adhere to the Public Health Agency guidelines to minimise the spread of COVID-19.”
The UFU has asked agricultural contractors to stick to the following measures when carrying out essential work on farms:
- Disinfect the interior tractor/machine cab daily;
- Disinfect the cab door handles of the tractor/machine daily;
- Do not carry passengers;
- Wear disposable gloves when opening and closing gates;
- Practise social distancing, and remain a minimum of two metres from others;
- No hand contact with others such as the shaking of hands;
- If in doubt use the telephone to check instructions;
- Wear disposable overalls and change these daily.
“We’re enduring the biggest health challenge of our generation. We each have a responsibility to protect ourselves from COVID-19.”
“These guidelines will help to ensure the safety of our agricultural contractors when they are conducting essential tasks on farms across Northern Ireland.”
“I would sincerely urge all our contractors to take the time to not only familiarise themselves with these measures but to ensure that they are fully implemented and followed not only by themselves but also their employees,” Chestnutt added.
The UFU deputy president highlighted the importance of rolling this spring, in order to minimise repairs needed to silage machinery in a time when the supply of parts will be limited.
“With restrictions introduced by the Government in response to COVID-19 set to continue, farmers may wish to ensure that silage ground is subject to rolling during the spring months.”
“Doing this will help to reduce the likelihood of machinery breaking down during silage season. A breakdown during silage season may prove extremely detrimental during 2020 due to the added challenges in trying to source and obtain machinery parts,” he concluded.