As the days continue to get shorter, the reality of winter coming and the housing of cattle really starts to hit home.
Some parts of the country over the last week or so got heavy amounts of rain, and during the week, I was out on a farm where the land would normally be considered heavy, and it was hard to believe how soft the ground had become.
The farmer said housing would soon be upon him, around the beginning of October – which is only a week away – and in what has been a strange year, it has so far, gone in a flash.
Looking back, it has been quite a short grazing year for many, with a lot of farmers forced to keep cattle indoors longer than expected, in what was a tough spring.
Many farmers, like the one I spoke to during the week, will be getting ready to open pits of silage or bales in the coming weeks, while for others the grazing season, they hope, will extend out for a while yet.
For those who will be housing soon and even those who won’t be, now is the time to think about getting the farm yard in order for the winter.
Jobs such as getting sheds power washed and disinfected are a must – as this will help to eliminate any diseases from the previous year.
While power washing the shed, it’s worthwhile checking slats for any defects, and if there any signs of exposed steel, cracks or surface damage, then consideration should be given to changing the slats.
Water troughs in sheds should be checked to see if they are in good working condition and that there are no leaks.
All troughs should be emptied and cleaned before stock are housed.
t’s important to make sure all feed barriers and gates are suitable for use and secured.
To ensure safety around the yard, make sure any lights in the yard are working properly, which is hugely important – as a poorly lit yard can be dangerous. As well as that, ensure all agitating points are covered properly.
In terms of animal health, make sure air can circulate in and out of sheds and ensure that there are no barriers for this to occur.
Whether you have vented sheeting or Yorkshire boarding in your sheds, make sure they aren’t clogged up.
Good ventilation in buildings is required for the health and performance of livestock. Ventilation provides fresh air and removes heat and moisture generated by the housed livestock – if this is inhibited in any way, animal health problems will arise.
In terms of being set up for the winter, make sure to have everyday use items such as fork/grape and a yard scraper are at the ready.
In terms of machinery, make sure any bale handlers, shear grabs and feeding wagons are in good working order and that your tractor is also working at its optimum.
The easiest thing to do is to take an hour or two out of your day to go around the yard and make a list of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced.
A workplace, i.e. the farmyard, needs to be set up properly and safely. Lack of organisation and untidy yards will increase the risk of accidents, which is what we want to eliminate.
Lastly, if there are any jobs you are uncomfortable doing, get a professional in to repair or fix the issue.