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Dealing with adverse events

Farming can a rewarding occupation but at times events such as adverse weather - storms, snow, drought - can make it challenging and difficult. More recently the coronavirus has disrupted work and life in Ireland. It is important to be as prepared as possible to deal with any adverse event that may occur. Do a risk assessment, have checklists and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

The first important step before/when the adverse event occurs is to plan. 


1. Risk assessment: Identify the risk, how likely is it to happen and what would the impact be

  • Identify contingency plans i.e. a back-up plan in case someone gets sick

Example risk assessment

(1 - 5)
(1 - 5)
Risk LevelContingency Plan
Contracting Covid-19 3 5 8 Identify a suitable alternative person to manage the farm, if not already using labour saving practices such as once-a-day calf rearing start using now; arrange for someone to bring in cooked meals for the family/ batch cook meals and store in the freezer

2. Checklists

Have checklists in place & ensure everyone knows where they are. A good map with paddocks numbered and key services such as power, water supplies etc. is useful to have

  • People - key contacts list & numbers
  • Stock - feeding regimes etc.
  • Supplies - Forward purchase e.g. fertiliser, silage wrap, tail paint etc. purchase online or by phone and arrange to have delivered where possible

3. Standard operating procedures (SOPs)

Have standard operating procedures for key tasks – e.g. milking, calf rearing, feeding etc.

  • Place at their point of use

Information on drawing up SOPs is available here