With cattle housed for winter, most farmers will find the daily workload settling in to a routine that mainly involves feeding and bedding.

Hopefully, with cattle indoors, there will be some time freed up to address the usual farm maintenance jobs that often get postponed.

While every farm will have differing priorities for maintenance, outlined are five jobs to consider this winter.

1 Hedge cutting

Many farmers will already have the hedges trimmed back. But where hedges still have to be cut, this is something to get on top of in the coming weeks.

When it comes to cutting hedges, do not overdo it with excessive trimming. Aim to trim hedges back so that visibility at road junctions is improved and to remove overhanging branches that impede road traffic.

For internal field hedges, trim any branches that can weaken or damage fencing. Light trimming will improve shelter in paddocks. Wider, taller hedges are also an environmental asset for the farm.

2 Fencing repairs

Once hedgerows have been trimmed, carry out fencing repairs as access will be greatly improved.

Replace old and damaged strands of wire or barb, or erect new fencing as necessary. Address any gaps, low wires or broken posts that could allow animals to break-out of paddocks next year.

3 Field gates

Carry out repairs to field gates that are no longer hanging properly and have become more difficult to open and close. The same applies to gates that cannot be securely barred into adjoining gateposts.

In some cases, it may be worth repositioning gates or changing the direction they open. This can make it much easier to move cattle from paddock to paddock or loading on to a trailer.

4 Water troughs

Leaking and damaged water troughs should also be repaired or replaced over winter. These jobs often get overlooked, especially during a busy spring when calving and lambing are in full swing.

5 Cleaning open drains

Where ground conditions are suitable, cleaning open drains around field boundaries will improve drainage. This will help remove surface water and improve stock carrying capacity next spring.

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