Snow and ice brings havoc on farms

Snow and sub-zero conditions are causing havoc for farmers and rural communities in Wales, Scotland and the north of England.

NFU Cymru has reports of livestock owners who cannot get animal feed delivered to their farms, dairy farmers who have had no choice but to tip milk away and supplies of fresh eggs at risk as collections are proving impossible.

Dai Davies, NFU Cymru president, said, “This weather looks set to continue for at least the rest of the week and farmers are rightly concerned for the welfare of their animals and businesses.

“It appears clearing rural roads is currently low priority as authorities struggle to keep main roads open.”

According to NFU Mutual’s Mike Sanderson one Cumbrian producer disposed of £2000 worth of milk as ‘unprecedented’ weather made roads impassable.

West Yorkshire dairy farmer Tom Rawson said he was also concerned about getting milk off farm.

“About 25% of our milk is bottled and delivered by milk men – I have had to pull a number of milkmen out of the farm today and I’ve got 500 litres of bottled milk that we can’t get off farm – potentially this could go to waste.”

Mark Taylor from Dairy Crest said the sub-zero temperatures had made getting tankers on farm in certain areas of the UK extremely challenging.

But despite the conditions there has been a fantastic effort from farmers and hauliers to maintain full supply to our customers, he said.

“In the first fall of snow at Christmas, there was only a very small volume of milk we were unable to collect and these were isolated incidences due to poor access or particular circumstances.

“Every farm should try and do as much as possible to make access as easy as possible and salt affected areas,” he added.

NFU Scotland urged the farming and rural communities to keep pulling together as the big freeze shows little sign of abating.

“We urge those lucky enough to keep on top of the daily chores of feeding livestock and thawing water pipes to spare a thought for fellow neighbours who may be struggling,” said James Withers, NFU Scotland chief executive.

“For some the simple offer of clearing roadways, helping to feed stock or assisting with supplying food or fuel for the house will be a welcome lifeline.”