Surviving the cold snap!

Just because we’re into spring, it doesn’t mean we’re out of the frosty weather. In fact, last week AA Roadwatch reported a number of traffic collisions across the country as freezing overnight temperatures, some plunging to minus 4, (it hit minus 2 here with more freezing conditions expected this week), left roads treacherous.

  Now we all know freezing conditions can mean frozen pipes, something that can greatly affect farmers, meaning now’s the time to take preventative measures. Here’s what we’d suggest.

  Fit a frost thermostat to the coldest areas around boilers and pipework where a pre-set temperature can be activated in order to provide frost protection should the temperatures plunge.

  If you’ve got a milking machine, installing an infrared lamp to keep temperatures above freezing could be an ideal way to prevent a disaster. Do make sure all work is carried out by a registered professional.

  Regular recces of all water tanks, especially animal water troughs, need to be done regarding their structural abilities and to make sure all animals, especially milking cows, have access to a fresh, clean water supply. In addition, making sure the insulation on your water pipes and tanks is sufficient and have a registered plumber fit automatic shut off valves to ensure your water supply is turned off in the case of a burst pipe.

  If you’ve got a milking machine housed in a milking parlour, in order to try and reduce the risk of any ice forming, get an insulating blanket or plastic sheeting and pop it around the entrance to try and keep some heat inside the parlour.

  If you’ve got a power washer, keep it indoors at all times to prevent the pump from freezing. If you need to thaw frozen pipes, locate the part that’s frozen, keep your tap open, and apply heat to the pipes by using towels soaked in hot water. Apply the heat in this way until your water pressure is restored. However, if you’re unable to locate the problem, call in a registered plumber immediately. 

  Tip: Never use a blowtorch, it can be dangerous and cause your pipe to explode. Make sure to check all pipes…if one can freeze, others can too.

  Remember, pregnant ewes need a supply of fresh hay/silage in incidents where there is no grass available due to heavy frost/snowfall.

  Severe weather conditions bring an increase of serious injury due to falls that could cause broken bones or head injuries, so treat your own safety as a priority. The farm can’t run without you!