Farm Relief Services (FRS) has issued a set of guidelines to farmers who may require their services during the coronavirus pandemic.
They have assembled 4 practical steps to make sure your farm can run smoothly while you are unable to farm.
Step 1: Get prepared
- It is imperative that you are prepared for the worst eventuality, which is that you may be unable to carry out your normal duties for some time, so prepare immediately for this;
- Have a full set of instructions available for an FRS operator to work on your farm;
- Instructions do not have to be lengthy, just enough information on where to find things and how to carry out jobs as you normally would. Machinery and equipment can vary from farm to farm. Photos and Short Videos are very useful in quickly explaining how to use machinery and equipment. These can be sent easily as short video clips via YouTube video link or messaging apps like WhatsApp;
- Please be aware that FRS will continue to offer service to all affected farmers subject to availability during this crisis period. FRS office staff will be contactable by phone and email even in the event of office closure;
What should I photograph/take videos of?
- Farm map;
- Milking machine controls and processes;
- Milking machine washing procedure;
- Milk tank controls and wash procedure;
- Controls for diet feeder/fertiliser spreader/slurry tank;
- Tractor controls;
- Automatic scraper controls;
- Automatic calf feeder;
- Location of key tools, equipment, medicines and keys for access.
Step 2: Contact FRS – as soon as possible
- Send all relevant information such as your address, Eircode, number of cows to be milked etc to the FRS office in advance if possible. Send information by non-contact means, by phone, email or messaging app. If you have used FRS in the past it is useful to inform the office of which operators are most familiar with your farm. Eircode can be found on https://www.eircode.ie/;
- Let the FRS office know if you or family members have contracted Covid 19 or are in isolation. Your situation will be treated in the strictest confidence possible, however, the operator will be told of the situation;
- Minimise the risk of infection by having no physical contact with the operator – no handshaking etc, ideally you should not meet them at all, if you must then keep a minimum of 2 metres social distance;
- All communication should be non-contact if possible – phone, text, messaging apps (WhatsApp etc), email, notes, notice boards. Photos or short video clips of your processes are useful.
Step 3: Provide relevant farm information
Ensure you provide all the necessary information for the operator to complete their job. This checklist will help you.
- Address and eircode of farm;
- Number of cows to be milked;
- Parlour make/type;
- Copy of farm map with paddocks labelled/numbered;
- Other stock to be checked and fed (type, quantity and location of feed);
- Cows in withdrawal (antibiotics);
- List of tasks to be completed with instructions (photos/videos useful);
- Nominated family members contact details;
- Vet and medicine supplier contact details;
- Milking machine technician contact details;
- Milk collection (truck) driver contact details;
- Co-op milk quality advisor/branch contact details;
- AI technician(s) contact details;
- Feed supplier and delivery driver contact details;
- Contractor(s) contact details;
- Location of bull/dangerous animals;
- Spare set of labelled keys;
- List of calving dates/serving dates for cows;
- Means of recording animal remedies (paper or electronic).
Step 4: Get your farm ready
- The safety of the Operator around animals and machinery is paramount. In a new farm situation, animals may see them as strangers and machinery controls vary. Inform them of any specific controls or anomalies that they need to be aware of;
- Please provide nitrile gloves and handwashing facilities with warm water;
- Please provide a suitable disinfectant for the operator to use on arrival to disinfect contact surfaces. Operators have been advised to use disinfectant as per instructions below;
- Operators have been told not enter your house and to bring their own food and drinks for consumption in their own vehicle.
If you think you may require assistance from FRS, please contact the office immediately, do not hesitate.