Many farmers experienced overwhelming levels of stress last spring, as consecutive snow storms and bad weather battered farms, depleted fodder reserves and added pressure to farm overdrafts.

For some farmers, it was a lonely time of suffering in silence.

Cork dairy farmer Harold Kingston told the Late Late Show on 5 April about coping with burnout brought on by the intense situation.

I was apologising to my cows I couldn’t look after them anymore

In a candid interview, he explained how he had asked a man he was dealing with to buy his whole herd of him because he felt overwhelmed by the workload.

“Everything came together that day, and I offered him the whole herd. Literally buy them because I was apologising to my cows I couldn’t look after them any more,” Kingston said.

“I just had no more energy left.”

Tough spring

Kingston spoke previously to the Irish Farmers Journal on the subject of his burnout and depression diagnosis last June.

“I wish there was but there wasn’t. He [the GP] told me it was a mental problem causing a physical problem. It was like an injury that sucked the energy out of me completely. Concentration on paper work was next to impossible. I could milk cows because that was routine but making the decision to start milking was difficult,” Kingston told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Harold Kingston, Courtmacsherry, Co Cork. / Donal O' Leary

“When I turned in the cows I had to sit down for a while and if I didn’t, I’d have to take a break half way through milking. Once I was milking it was fine, the same with feeding.”

Kingston has urged farmers experiencing difficulties to contact friends, family or their GP for help.

You can click here to read the full interview.

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