Ensure winter equipment is ready
C a r r y o u t a l a st m i n u t e check on winter housing for livestock.
Keep safety first in mind when checking facilities. Power wash and disinfect all sheds. If there has been a winter health problem in the past, you may need to consult your vet about using a strong, specialised disinfectant. Inspect slatted areas for damaged, cracked, or sagging slats. Replace them where necessary. Likewise, cracked or uneven concrete areas should be replaced. Keep stock off repaired areas for some weeks.
Wa t e r b o w l s a n d p i p i n g need to be inspected for any leaks, and to make sure they are fixed securely to walls or gates. Clean out and disinfect all water bowls. Water piping above ground needs to be lagged against frost. Check feed barriers are secure, and all bolts and locks are in working order. Ensure that all doors and gates are hanging safely, and can be fastened securely. Old or broken fixtures need to be repaired or replaced. Grease self-locking barriers and sliding doors, so that they run smoothly.
All slurry agitation points must be securely covered, and not easily openable. Look at creep gates, to verify they can be opened and closed when needed. Ensure that your calving gate is in good working order, and is safely secured.
I n s p e c t a l l e l e c t r i c a l f i t tings, and replace any that are broken or damaged. Don’t risk substandard fittings; they could be lethal to both man and animal.
L o o k at a l l g u t t e r s a n d downpipes to ensure they are not blocked, and won’t cause unwanted flooding of sheds, or tanks, over the winter. Plastic covers on fluorescent roof lights should be cleaned, where possible, and damaged ones replaced. Clean lighting throws out more light. Likewise, check that all fl o o d l i g h t s a n d h a l o g e n lamps, both inside and outside, are in full working order. Clean glasses and replace bulbs where necessary. Examine barriers, bars and safety areas in bull pens, to check all is in order. Keep the stock bull secure at all times. Make a list of repairs needed and get them done. Don’t delay. Do it today.
F a r m m a i n t e n a n c e i s a driver of farm efficiency, it saves time and labour, and reduces problems with livestock and machinery, Most importantly, it helps prevent farm accidents.
Hygiene is critical in calving boxes/areas. Every effort is needed to prevent the buildup of infection and disease. Thoroughly clean out, power wash and disinfect all calving boxes/calving areas. Use a strong disinfectant; this prevents a build-up of harmful micro-organisms such as Cryptosporidium. If there is a history of scour, disease, or infection in the calving area, consult your vet on what specialised disinfectant to use.
Likewise, hygiene is hugely important here. Remove all farmyard manure, old straw e t c . C l e a n t h e w h o l e a re a , power wash and disinfect, with a strong disinfectant. When dry, sprinkle the entire creep area with hydrated lime. This will act as an additional disinfectant. Wear gloves and protect your eyes when handling lime. Ensure you have enough straw in store to cover the entire calving period.
Tractors, shear grabs etc are needed in the months ahead. Service tractors. Check brakes and hydraulic systems. Grease all external moving parts. Sharpen blades; replace shear grab pins etc.