Tuesday, 29 March 2022 12:55

Farmers seem to be coping with Omicron

Written by  Peter Burke
Neil Bateup Neil Bateup

Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says it has had very few calls from farmers wanting help to deal with Covid.

He says the trust had geared itself up to be able to provide support for farmers. However, the phone lines have been largely silent and Bateup reckons it appears that farmers are managing their own situations on farm.

He believes the difference is that when the trust started gearing up, the Delta variant was around and isolation periods were 14 days. They were looking to move people off farm into managed isolation or quarantine facilities.

"The possibility of taking some or all staff off farm to MIQ for 14 days and potentially 28 days - if it spread within a family - could have caused major problems," Bateup told Rural News.

"But as time has gone on, the isolation periods have shortened, and with Omicron not being the same beast as Delta, most people seem able to manage trhough any outbreak on farm."

Bateup says he accepts that most farmers can work - even if they have Covid - or just take the odd day off just to relax and just do the important things. He says they can normally get other staff, family or neighbours to cover for them for a couple of days to make sure their businesses carry on.

According to Bateup, other rural service industries have also been affected with trucking companies down on staff and some of the meat works operating on shorter hours.

He believes the situation is being managed, but reckons farmers are lucky that the Omicron outbreak has not occurred at a crucial and pressured time - such as lambing or calving.

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