Hay bales and farmer’s lung


Sir, – Frank McNally’s beautiful memoir of hay-making in Monaghan 50 years ago with a small square baler should be preserved for posterity (An Irishman’s Diary, July 7th). However, as one of the people who introduced the big round silage bale to Ireland nearly 40 years ago, I shed no tears for the demise of the small square bale of hay.

Neither will the thousands of families whose husbands and brothers died too young from farmer’s lung disease. This was a most insidious disease which afflicted Irish farmers for generations. It was caused by the dust in square bales of hay which polluted the air in hay-sheds with clouds of millions of fungal spores.

There was no cure to farmer’s lung, and there still isn’t. So by all means let us remember the square hay bale with nostalgia, but not with regret at its demise. – Yours, etc,



Co Cavan.