Weather: Heavy rainfall across the country in the last few days has meant cattle have had to be housed on a lot of farms.

Temperatures are still above average for the time of year, so be mindful of this when putting cattle in.

Don’t pack pens too much for the first few weeks if you can and give animals lots of space to acclimatise to the winter set up.

Try and leave doors of sheds open to increase ventilation, especially during this warm period.

If you have been feeding meal to weanlings outside, continue to do so inside. It takes animals some time to transition onto a silage diet. Intakes of silage will be low, so feeding meal will ensure that there is enough energy going in until silage intakes increase.

Vermin rodent control: This time of year, as weather conditions deteriorate, rodent and vermin control becomes an issue on farms. This coincides with animals being housed and animal feed being stored in sheds around the yard. Typical signs of rodent infestation include rat or mouse droppings around feed stores, gnawing and chewing of materials in sheds, footprints in soft material, eg clay, or holes or burrows in soil around the yard. A infestation poses both an animal health risk and also a human health risk. Always wear gloves when handling poison bait and working in areas where rodents are present. If you are not using purpose-built bait boxes, bait should be covered in pipes, etc, to stop other animals from ingesting the bait. Remove dead rodents and replenish bait on a regular basis. Remember to record its usage in your Bord Bia Quality Assurance plan. Rodents can also appear in the farm dwelling house as central heating systems come back on. Make sure you have blocked as much access as possible. Remember, a rat can fit through a gap the width of your thumb (13mm), while a mouse can fit through a gap the width of a pencil (6mm). If vermin issues are persisting after 35 days of active control, other control measures should be looked at.

BDGP and BEEP-S: There is just one week left to fulfil the requirements for both the BDGP scheme and the BEEP scheme. You must have 50% of the reference number of animals for your herd genotyped four or five stars on the replacement index by Sunday 31 October 2021. The ICBF has posted out BDGP eligibility reports over the last two weeks. Make sure to check your status to ensure you are cleared for payment in December. The scheme has received funding for next year and the same conditions are likely to be attached in 2022. Anybody wishing to leave the scheme at the end of 2021 will be able to do so. Under the BEEP-S and dairy calf weighing scheme, all weights must be submitted by 1 November to ICBF.

THRIVE Walks: The THRIVE programme farm walks, which were due to take place on Thursday in Kerry and Friday in Roscommon, have been postponed until November. The November walks will cover winter nutrition, winter health plans and performance targets over the winter months. Check out for details.