Milk shortage could be on the way says Laois IFA chairman #stormemma #beastfromtheeast

Lynda Kiernan

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Lynda Kiernan

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lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Milk shortage could be on the way says Laois IFA chairman #stormemma #beastfromtheeast

Milk will not be collected in Laois today

The country panicked for bread, but milk may become a real shortage in coming days if roads do not clear.

The chairman of Laois Irish Farmers Association says milk is not being collected because of the roads being impassable.

"Farmers are trying to get their cows milked, but the milk is not being collected, today and yesterday," Francie O'Gorman told the Leinster Express.

Farmers are forced to dump the unused milk he said.

"They will dump it into their slurry tanks. There will possibly be a milk shortage in shops. I am not sure how far in advance Glanbia have stocks of milk, but it can't be that long for fresh milk," he said.

Glanbia covers the entire midlands from Louth down to Cork he said, but are currently closed.

"They are not delivering feed for animals either," said Mr O'Gorman.

He said Laois farmers are continuing to work "with great difficulty".

"The most basic of tasks, getting water and fodder to their stock, is a most difficult chore. There is a huge difficulty with frozen pipes for accessing water to stock. People need to be careful and think of their personal safety and stay as calm as they can. How long it will last I don't know," he said.

"Young lambs are being born now, and normally they would be out in the field the next day but that can't be done. It's the worst possible time to get this. As I look out my window it's pelting snow again," he said.

Farmers are helping each other and ready to help the council and Gardaí he said.

"We are available to the county council and Gardaí if they need help, we will provide someone. Farmers are helping each other, you couldn't get through this without that sort of co-operation," Mr O'Gorman said.

Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Padraig Fleming, a retired Glanbia employee, has also been contacted by Laois farmers to find out about milk collections.

"A lot of them will have capacity in their tanks, at this time of year because cattle are not on grass," he said.

He also urged people to stay off roads.

"When you go out you don't know what you are going to meet, people will still go out to play in the snow, but stay off the roads," Cllr Fleming said.

Larry Wall is a dairy farmer in Arles, and the weather had posed tough challenges for him.

"The main road is passable, but once you're off that it's a different story. I'm in farming and it's difficult to get a milkman in and out of the yard and to get water to the cows."

"We have a heater in the milking parlour to thaw out the pipes and we have that going, but we have cattle in sheds and pipes are frozen underground, so we have to had to run pipes over the ground to try to get water out to them."

See how the snow is affecting rural areas around Laois.