Northern Ireland is unexplained, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Over the past 19 months a total of 20 people have been killed in accidents involving the industry, which is unprecedented in recent history.

Jim King, of the HSE, told BBC Radio Ulster: "It's the worst period that we can ever remember where there has been a consistent, unrelenting death toll in the farming industry."

He has been in his role for 25 years and cannot yet determine if there are any direct reasons for the increase in cases.

A number of possibilities put forward by Mr King include added pressure on farmers at this time or people not taking notice of risk factors in the same way they used to.

One trend that has been spotted is that the majority of deaths have been men over the age of 65, which may provide a clue to the increased number of instances.

It is clear that more needs to be done in order to counteract the change and Stormont launched a new initiative in May.

Backed by the agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill the Farm Safety Partnership has brought a number of organisations together to tackle the problem.

These include the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the HSE, and the Ulster Farmers Union.

It is important that anyone working within the industry keeps up to date with changes to health and safety practices and the best processes to follow.

A number of factors represent risks, including working with heavy and mechanical machinery and maintaining farm buildings.

As a drive is made towards greater awareness, it is hoped that the coming months will see a downturn in the number of deaths.

Mr King said: "It may be down to the fact that people are missing out on the safety message that we're putting out."