A recent farm incident has left Cork farmer and Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) president Dermot Kelleher thanking his lucky stars to still be alive.
While rushing and hurrying during a recent herd test, the suckler farmer from Inchigeela in Co Cork cracked four ribs and suffered severe bruising when he was involved in an accident while moving cows.
“We were reading a herd test and I wanted to make sure all the cows were gone out of the yard.
“I opened the gate and went back in along the wall to go up behind them and three or four of them went to squeeze out the gate together and I got jammed between one of them and a wall. It wasn’t the cow’s fault. There were more cows squeezing her.
It was so simple and I could have easily been killed
“I was probably letting out 25 or 30 cows in that bunch and they just all tried to come out at once.
“It happened so fast and I was left suffering the consequences. But by God I got some squeezing,” he said.
Kelleher explained how his cows were big Charolais cows that weighed as much as 900kg but stressed that they are not cross cows.
“They’re not cross cattle like but they all went to go out together at the corner and I got caught. I just couldn’t get out fast enough.”
In warning other farmers, Kelleher said that you can never take chances, and to think before doing something so hasty.
“It was so simple and I could have easily been killed.
“The message is to think first. If I had actually thought about it I wouldn’t have chanced it – I would have went out around,” he said.
He also spoke of the importance of having something in your hand when walking in and around cattle.
“I wouldn’t be a man for using a stick but I would usually just have it in my hand. If I had something in my hand, they mightn’t have been so brave and it mightn’t have happened,” he said.
Three weeks on from the accident, Kelleher said he is much improved but still not 100%.
With very little that can be done with broken ribs, Kelleher says that he will just have to suffer on.
“I’m letting cattle out of that yard for over 20 years and nothing ever happened to me like that before.
“Usually, I’d walk out before them but we were under pressure and I didn’t want to delay my son, or delay the vet.
“We’ve very good handling facilities and everything is in order – my facilities were foolproof but I was the one [that was the] fool.”