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Tips for Farmers

Fruit Trees: Cut off all low hanging, dead, and unproductive limbs and branches. Hurricane preparedness notwithstanding the rainy season is the best time of year for pruning fruit trees. The greater the resistance of a tree to high winds, the easier it is for that tree to be uprooted.

Bananas and Plaintains: With the issuance of a HURRICANE WARNING, it is recommended that farmers chop down all bananas and plantain plants -- main stem and suckers -- as near to ground level as possible. It is less costly to lose a few bunches and farms will be back in production sooner than if the whole cultivation is uprooted by hurricane force winds.

Adult Livestock: Adult livestock have inbred instincts that enable them to survive a hurricane, provided that their movement is not physically restrained. Ideally, livestock should be turned loose in pastures that are not prone to flooding or swept by storm surges. Let cattle, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys graze in an open field. Tying animals increases their chances of injury.

Young Livestock: Where possible, young stock two months or less should be securely penned with their mother, or otherwise turned loose in a safe and sheltered area that is not prone to flooding or storm surge.

Chickens: Chickens and other domestic livestock should be placed in a safe cage, box or pen that is above possible flood level. Baby chicks however should be kept indoors in a warm dry place. Ensure that roofs of poultry and pig pens are property fastened.

Pigs: Adult pigs are best kept in their pens. Pig pens are never totally enclosed and therefore are of minimal resistance to high winds. Driving cold rain however could be a serious threat to piglets that are under five weeks old. Where possible, piglets should be confined to a dry secured area.

General: Most animals and birds have an inbred instinct for sensing the approach of a natural phenomenon such as a hurricane. If restrained, animals will exhibit a restless or nervous behavior. Do not further agitate animals by rough handling, but rather, handle in a calm, firm, and gentle manner. Ensure an adequate supply of clean drinking water, and stock up on sack feed for use after a hurricane. Ponds, watering holes and pastures may become contaminated by salt water during a hurricane, and may remain so for a considerable period thereafter.

Farm Buildings: Secure loose boards and roofing sheets which can become dangerous missiles during a hurricane. That extra nail, screw or bolt could mean the difference between a farm building receiving zero damage, and total disintegration during a hurricane. Switch off all electrical supply to pens, water pumps, etc. Chemicals, fertilizers and other toxic materials should be stored in the safest sections of buildings, as chemical exposure can cause serious injury to people and animals alike.

Pastures: Remove, store and/or secure feed and watering troughs i.e. half drums, bath tubs etc. These can become dangerous missiles. Where it is impossible to secure these, fill them with heavy rock to stop them blowing away. Inspect fence posts to ensure that they are properly anchored in the ground. Loose fence posts can become dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Ensure that drains in the fields are cleared of debris. A clogged drain can flood your farm and destroy your crops.

Last Updated: 2010-08-15