In some instances, hydraulic drive systems could provide a possible alternative to PTOs (power take-offs), according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

A hydraulic drive system could be used on a machine that requires a low power output to drive it, he added.

Minister Creed made the comments in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD, Charlie McConalogue; the Co. Donegal man acts as the party’s Agriculture Spokesperson.

The use of a hydraulic drive system removes the need for PTO drives, which revolve at high revolutions per minute, Minister Creed said.

However, such systems are not suitable for machines that have a high power requirement – such as balers and forage harvesters.

“While the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has primary responsibility for farm safety, I am particularly supportive of improving the safety record on farms.

“The rate of accidents on farms remains far too high and it is important that a focus on safety must become an integral part of farming culture.

“While there are many risks in farming, farming does not have to be a dangerous occupation. Behavioural change is what is required to prevent many accidents,” he explained.

Minister Creed went on to explain that it is a case of being aware of the dangers and taking the time to do what is necessary to minimise the risk.

The Department of Agriculture is continuously reviewing the potential for machinery improvements that provide more safe working environments, he concluded.

Minister Creed made the comments in the midst of the Farm Safety Week initiative, which was taking place in both the UK and Ireland last week.

The initiative focused on key themes during each day. These included: machinery and transport; livestock; children on the farm; and falls.