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26th February, 2020

*** Mental Health – A significant problem on multiple Irish dairy farms. ***

 

This time of year is reaching peak of calving on many grass based dairy systems. The demand on labour is at its most critical junction in terms of cows calving, rearing of calves, adjusting freshly calved cows to milking routine and an increased demands of cow’s dietary requirements.

Freshly calved cows enter a natural stage of negative energy balance this coincides with an immune system that is very challenged. Finally, labour and availability of skilled labour for various aspects of dairy herd management is in scarce supply. The culminating outcome in these situations is mental wellbeing of those individuals running large dairy operations.

Unfortunately, it is a fact that drug abuse has become a significant issue among farmers to cope with the demands of modern dairy herd management during this critical phase of the dairy herd production cycle.

We do not need to mirror image New Zealand dairy farm systems, where the highest incidence of suicide exists among the dairy farming sector population.

It is important in modern society that social contact is maintained among family members and neighbours during this critical phase of the dairy production system.