Only a couple of days after the collapse of a roof of a dairy barn in Rocky Mountain House, which resulted in the deaths of several cows, Alberta Farm and Animal Care and the provincial government are out reminding livestock producers about the dangers the heavy snowfall can present.
Brad Andres, Manager of the Emergency Program at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development says conditions this winter look very similar to one in the not so distant past. “A couple of years ago we had a bad year with the number of roof collapses and the amount of snow we have gotten this winter, 2013/2014, looks very similar to that 2011/2012,” said Andres.
He says the concern is always for the people working in the barn and livestock housed there.
“I think a key thing for producers is to keep an eye on the amount of snow that’s actually sitting on top of the roofs, especially if we’ve had a melt or some rain that adds moisture to that content and builds up weight very quickly. If you’re starting to see abnormal levels of snow or you know there’s a lot of ice on there you should work to get it off the roof, in a safe manner.”
Should producers have questions, Andres suggests they take action to avoid a possible larger problem:
“The big thing would be if anybody’s actually had a collapse and are concerned about their barn’s structural integrity, they need to get ahold of a structural engineer and have them come out and do an assessment of what the roof’s capable of holding, is it safe, is there an area of concern that they need to work on? ”