THE SILAGE season has returned. From mid-May onward the sight of tractors, trailers and harvesters are common place along country roads and in fields.
A safety warning comes with the increased volume of heavy machinery operating at a time when many children are spending time at home, often in close vicinity to the farm yard.
Councillor Victor Warrington , pictured below, urged farm families to keep safety to the forefront of their minds.
“Machinery is of course dangerous and young kids are infatuated with tractors and machinery and want to be stuck in the middle of it. The responsibility has to lie with the contractors and parents to ensure that all work is done safely.
“I live in the middle of agricultural land and I have seen farmers go past with sowers, slurry tankers, toppers and the likes, they have been busy so far. Unfortunately we have seen accidents and fatalities over the years but we don’t want to see any more. I think everyone is sensible and will do their best.”
Farming unions generally issue farm safety appeals at this time of year. Tim Cullinan president of the Irish Farmers’ Association said, “Normally at this time of the year both the IFA and the RSA appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards, and while traffic volumes have reduced, this advice still stands.
“However, we are making a special appeal this year in light of the current situation to ask that anyone driving farm machinery, especially on rural roads, to cut back on their speed and understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend out for a walk, jog or a cycle.
“We should all expect the unexpected – we have learned already this year, whether on the farm or on the road there is no place for complacency.”
The safety advice follows several farm related accidents through which lives have been lost. Within the last week an 11 year-old girl was killed in an accident involving a tractor in neighbouring Donegal.
Prior to this a mother and her three year old daughter lost their lives following a quad bike accident near Ballycastle. Earlier this month a 74 year old Cork man died in a farm accident involving a bull.