With winter upon us and the cold weather fast approaching it is time to get winter ready. During the winter months every aspect of the farm needs to be well looked after and taken care of. Here at FRS, good maintenance of the farm during the winter months is vital so we have put together a list of things farmers should cover in order to be winter ready.
When it comes to grassland, the farmer should try to extend the grazing season for as long as possible so in the long run it will shorten the winter feeding period. By this time of year, farmers should have started to close in the paddocks on the farm for winter. 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. 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 (eg. Motallareo and Interdigital Dermatitis). Preventative hoof paring in conjunction with a good foot bathing programme can help reduce the occurrence of these problems.
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 really 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.
By now slurry tanks should have been emptied at the end of October. Spreading after this date will incur a 20% penalty under cross compliance.
Other areas of the farm to consider:
• Clean out all animal housing thoroughly.
• Ensure all gates and feeding barriers are hanging safely and fastened securely.
• Check all pipes around the farm for leakages.
Farm Safety this winter
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 in to 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.
Preparing your farm for the winter months is key in order for things to run smoothly and safely. Carrying out checks and ensuring everything is in order and safe is a must. Here at FRS we believe that preparation is key.
For more information on the services we offer visit our website at www.farmreliefservices.ie or call (0505) 22100