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Getting winter-ready on your farm

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With cold weather fast approaching and evenings closing in, it is time for farmers to get winter-ready.

During winter, good maintenance of all aspects of farming is vital. A lot of farm activities need to be considered, so we have put together a list of items for farmers to consider in the coming weeks.

Grassland

When it comes to grassland, it is recommended for the farmer to try to extend the grazing season for as long as possible. The aim is to shorten the winter-feeding period.

By this time of year, farmers should have started to close in the paddocks on the farm for winter.

Due to high rainfall and wet ground, farmers also have the option to let cows out to grass during the day and house them at night. Paddocks should be closed off in sequence up to late November.

Hoof preparation for winter housing

As farmers prepare to move stock from grazing to housing, it is a critical time to assess current hoof health and address any issues before problems arise.

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Prevention is of utmost importance, and now is the time to get your herd checked by FRS. FRS provides expert paring for preventative and curative hoof care.

Early detection of problems can be brought to light through preventative pairing (e.g. Motallareo and Interdigital Dermatitis).

Preventative hoof paring, in conjunction with a good foot bathing programme, can help reduce the occurrence of these problems.

Machinery

When winter hits, so too does the cold weather. It often freezes in Ireland; therefore, it is necessary to ensure that all farm machinery is in proper working order. Tractors should be kept in the shed when not in use.

An adequate amount of anti-freeze should be kept in the cooling systems as it can become diluted if being topped up during the year.

Traces of water in the fuel lines can freeze and blow the flow.  Ensure batteries are fully charged to avoid failure to start your engine in freezing weather.

When it comes to sprayers ensure all pumps are fully drained.  Remove the pressure gauges from sprayers and store away safely.  The sprayer should be thoroughly cleaned out and drained, including all pipes, filters, and nozzles.

Farm safety

During the winter months, there is always a higher risk of getting injured when out and about on the farm, especially with the weather conditions.  Slips and falls are always common.

Take the following into account for prevention:
  • Putting grit down on the sloped areas of the yards around the farm and the roadways entering the farm will reduce the chance of slipping be it a person or vehicle.
  • Ensure there is good outside lighting installed throughout the farm, the winter brings longer hours of darkness, preventing us from seeing clearly.
  • Keep away from areas of danger and areas of rough terrain.
  • When heading out and about on the farm always bring your mobile phone with you so you can contact someone if an accident occurs.
  • Double-check any wiring work done around the farm during the winter season, especially lighting.
More information

Preparing your farm for the winter months is vital for everything to run smoothly and safely.  Carry out regular checks and ensure that everything is in order.

For more information on the services FRS offer, visit our website.

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