Preparing for the winter ahead

September is upon us and the grass has turned softer and lusher. It can only mean one thing and unfortunately it is that winter is only around the corner.

It’s that time of the year when you need to get ready for the winter.

That means getting indoor accommodation ready for stock. It is important that facilities are well cleaned out and disinfected before stock return inside.

This is particularly important for sheds housing younger animals. Don’t leave it until the last minute to get sheds ready.

You may need outside help to get some of your facilities in order. Starting early will make it easier to get that help well in advance of stock being housed.

Calving facilities

Calving boxes should be cleaned of any dung remaining from last season and disinfected.

A great idea is to whitewash walls in calving boxes as it makes it easier to view animals on calving cameras.

Remember that you should also check that your calving camera is working correctly in advance of housing.

It is easier to do any repairs when no animals are in a shed. Many are now considering the option of getting access to their camera on their mobile phone. I installed one last spring and it proved to be a fantastic investment.

It will allow you to monitor calving wherever they are. This is a great piece of technology especially for part-time farmers and those living a distance from their farmyard.

It also means that you can install the app for viewing the camera on other people’s phones, tablets and laptops.

Creep areas

Creep areas should also be thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected before cows and calves come back in.

One of the biggest source of disease in young calves comes from disease remaining in straw and dung from other stock who have been in the shed previously.

Young calves are very often infected by older calves in a batch if good hygiene practices are not adhered to.

Also remember to clean out meal troughs thoroughly before the new batch start feeding out of them.

Slat sand cubicles

As with Youngstock houses, it is also advisable to clean out sheds housing older stock. Newly housed animals of all ages are stressed and as a result are more prone to diseases which may prevail in the indoor environment.

As a result slats and cubicles should be power-washed and disinfected pre housing.

Safety First

Never risk welding or cutting with a grinder in a shed where straw or hay are stored, it could end in disaster.

It’s just not worth the risk. Inspection and repair of cattle handling facilities can be heavy work so get a hand where possible.


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