The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has issued a genuine Thank You to those working in the Irish Farm Machinery Industry who have worked together with Silage Contractors since the start of the 2020 Silage Harvest in early May. Farm machinery dealers across Ireland have provided a much-appreciated and somewhat changed machinery parts and service support for Silage Contractor teams across Ireland, in a way that followed the Health Service Executive (HSE) guidelines during the period of the COVID-19 restrictions.
“The COVID-19 restrictions presented significant new challenges for Silage Contractors and for many Farm Machinery Dealers, especially in the area of providing replacement machinery parts and in-field machine service for Silage Contractor teams during the critical national first cut silage programme,” said Richard White, national chairman of FCI. “We have appreciated the way many Farm Machinery Dealers kept their premises open of necessity from behind closed gates and staggered their technical teams in such a way as to allow for the provision of a remarkable parts and repair service for the Farm Contractor sector.
“Many Farm Machinery Dealers provided our Silage Contractor teams with a quality service, often from 6am until 9pm during weekdays and over weekends, during what was fortunately a period of very good weather. Many also provided excellent telephone back-up services, often outside normal hours, in order to ensure that high investment farm machines could achieve their full potential. This is truly appreciated and is an integral part of the unique relationship that exists between Farm Contractor and their Farm Machinery Industry suppliers,” he added.
“We value the partnership, goodwill and the extra efforts of our Farm Machinery Industry companies in making this possible. We believe that it is important that the extra efforts of so many Farm Machinery Dealerships to cater for the parts and service needs our members, are full appreciated. That’s why we want to issue a genuine message of Thank You from all Silage Contractors to the Irish Farm Machinery Industry as the first cut season comes to an end on many farms,” said Richard White.
FCI continues to advise Contractors to make sure that any additional COVID-19 risks from the next stages of their farm work that could affect the Farm Machinery Dealers and their technical teams, are reasonably managed. If a risk can’t be eliminated then it must be minimised, in so far as is reasonably practicable. “Our aim remains to keep everyone in the farm machinery sector both healthy and safe during the 2020 silage season,” said Richard White.
FCI remains concerned about the risk to children on farms this year. “We continue to urge all farm families to pay particular attention to child safety on farms over the coming weeks as many Farm Contractors now move their focus to slurry spreading. We are appealing to them to be aware of slurry gas risks as weather gets warmer and to especially keep children at a safe distance away from the slurry pits. The risks are simply too great,” said Richard White. “It is also important for each Farm Contractor to remember that the health of your team of skilled machine operators remains a priority,” he added.
FCI believes that Farm Contractors and Farm Machinery Dealers must continue to work together to meet their overlapping duties when it comes to providing a world-class farm mechanisation service to Irish farms. Because of CODID-19, maintaining an over-the-phone meeting around technical issues and the ordering of replacement parts can help Contractors and Farm Machinery Dealers to establish clear pathways to manage health and safety risks when interacting with Farm Contractors.