The whole pattern of my working day was thrown into confusion during the past two weeks.

The weather changes everything for a farmer, and the combinations of snow, hail, cold, rain and wind had a big impact on our farm.

The cold itself made all our normal jobs take longer.

Battling wintry conditions with frozen fingers and a body buffeted by the wind was no easy task.

Added to that were the extra jobs of shovelling snow, thawing out frozen water troughs with blow torches or hot water, and keep the young animals warm.

Cows can endure very low temperatures without feeling cold stress but calves have to be looked after more carefully.

I put little calf jackets on all calves aged 0-3 months and I made sure the barns were well-insulated with stacks of straw.

The experience of my dad came to very good use in tackling these extreme conditions.

The day before Storm Emma hit, he asked that heaters stay on in the milking parlour to ensure that things didn’t freeze up and the cows could still be milked the following day; and he turned off all the taps for the water troughs outside so that the pipes didn’t burst. There were, however, some things outside of our control.

The milk lorry was not able to reach our farm and as a result we had to throw away one morning’s milk, around four thousand litres.

Although this sounds like a lot, it was less than many other farmers in the local area.

This was an unfortunate circumstance but perhaps more could have been done to ease the situation.

I know of some local farmers who have snow ploughs but there was little communication from councils with regard to a co-ordinated effort.

I would support the creation of a protocol which detailed roles, including for farmers, to render roadways more accessible for local people and emergency services.

The importance of this was brought home to me by three car crashes on the farm.

While neither were as bad as they might have been and we were able to pull two of the cars out of ditches using our farm vehicles and a towing rope, I was aware that it would have been very difficult for an ambulance

to reach us if things had been worse.

Of course, there was a brighter side to the weather: many people enjoyed their days off and it was a joy to see people out sledding, skiing, and making the most of the countryside slopes!