Dairy farmers across Scotland are still coming to terms with the cost of the recent snowstorms, which resulted in many of them having to dump milk, due to collection tankers being unable to access their farms.
Although many are covered by insurance for this, some are not, which will result in large financial losses.
Adam Lawson, of North Cassingray Farm, Leven, who milks 180 cows, and supplies to Muller, gave The Scottish Farmer an insight into his struggle during the poor weather. He said: “We lost two day’s worth of milk, amounting to around 6500 litres, and luckily I am covered by insurance, but the whole situation is certainly a bit of a hassle.
“There’s nothing worse than having to go to all the effort of producing milk, and then pour it down the drain, and it’s not as if we can just go and sell it directly to people who can’t purchase it at the supermarket, because we are not allowed to do that.
“When the lorry finally did get in on Saturday, he ended up getting stuck on the way out, and we had to dig him out, so that was a bit of a nightmare. They did make attempts to get to us before that, but it just wasn’t possible, and they were really struggling to get anywhere.
“I tried hard to get the road cleared a bit on Friday, but it took me two hours to clear just a 10th of a mile of ground. I would say that it’s not even the clearing away of the snow that’s the biggest problem, it’s knowing where on earth to put the stuff, and I would say that the next issue we face now is that there is going to be a whole lot of flooding in sheds, which is going to cause more problems, and take up even more time.”
In Kilbarchan, David Carruth, of High Auchensale Farm, had the problem, like many others, of being unable to access the farm: “I am around a mile and a half from the main roads, that are treated, but even after clearing the hill up to my place by myself, the drifts were unmanageable, and the tanker couldn’t get in, so we lost three days of production, which amounts to around 9000 litres of milk, that was poured into our slurry pit.
“Although I am insured by NFU Mutual, it is an annoying situation.”
On Bute, farmers were less affected, but some were still forced to dispose of milk that was unable to be lifted, and the snow was still at record levels. Aleck Nairn, of Kerrycroy Farm, said: “In my 21 years on Bute, I have never seen the snow so bad. It drifted to the height of the hedges and it’s still sitting as high as that.
“I’ve also still been shovelling snow in order to let the artic lorries in, and the biggest concern was that the snow managed to drift into the sheds, meaning every beast had snow on its back, which is obviously not ideal.”
Rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, Tim Price, speaking from an insurance point of view, added: “NFU Mutual is expecting that there are a number of claims yet to come from farmers, as they are still so busy dealing with the aftermath of the bad weather. We believe there will be claims for loss of livestock, and for milk having to be dumped.”
Source: The Scottish Farmer