Heavy snow hit all of Co. Fermanagh overnight with many farmers unable to get out of their lanes until mid-morning.

Brian Donaldson, a calf-to-beef producer, farming close to Enniskillen told Agriland: “This is the worst snow that we have had in 20 years.

“I woke up at 5:00a.m and couldn’t believe how bright it was. My immediate concern was for a polytunnel that is adjacent to the house.

“I was worried that the heavy snow lying on top of it would bring the entire structure down. However, I was able to get the snow cleared away using a brush,” he added.

Snow causes concern for sheep in Fermanagh

The snow could not have fallen at a worse time for sheep farmers with ewes and lambs out in fields.

Farmers throughout Fermanagh and south Tyrone have spent the last few hours checking that young lambs, in particular, have not been caught up in drifts that can accumulate beside hedges.

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president, David Brown, farms near Florencecourt in south Co. Fermanagh.

“We had 8″ of snow overnight,” he confirmed to Agriland.

“And neighbours are reporting 10″ in places. I haven’t seen snow like this since I was in primary school.

“The big worry is young lambs becoming detached from their mothers. And checking animals currently out in fields will be a priority for sheep farmers.

“If lambs manage to stay with their mothers, they will continue to get a suck; otherwise they will get very cold, very quickly.

“One thing is for sure, the ewes won’t be getting much fresh grass over the coming day or so.

“We have store lambs on our own farm. They will be checked as a matter of priority over the coming, hour or so,” Brown added.

Paul Elwood is a sheep specialist with HVS Animal Health.

“If heavy snow falls, ewes with very young lambs at foot must be brought back indoors. Leaving them out is just too big a risk to take,” he explained.

“Older lambs with their mothers will probably survive if they receive supplementary concentrates.

“But the starting point for all of this requires farmers checking the condition of their sheep and making sure than no animal is caught up in lying snow.”

Back in 2013, heavy snow hit parts of east Co. Antrim at the beginning of March.

Thousands of young lambs and ewes were lost in the snow drifts that formed in a very short period of time.