Every month will see certain management jobs getting priority, and in January, outlined are some tasks to put on the “to do list”.

1. Soil sampling

If soil samples have not been taken yet, complete the task this month, before the lifting of restrictions on fertiliser and slurry spreading.

Use the results from soil samples to target slurry to fields low in P and K, helping to kickstart growth this spring.

2. Scanning autumn cows

On farms with August- to October-calving cows, these animals should be settled in-calf again. Pregnancy scanning should be carried out later this month, with empty cows marked for culling.

3. Feeding pre-calving minerals

Introduce pre-calving minerals to spring-calving cows from early January. Minerals will reduce problems at calving time, such as cows holding the placenta and lethargic calves that are slow to get feed.

4. Fodder budget

Take stock of how much silage is on farm, especially if animals are on a silage-only diet this winter. A budget can be completed online at: https://www.farmersjournal.ie/toolbox/fodder.php.

If there is likely to be a deficit, it is better to know now, as you will have more options to address the issue. Options include increasing meal levels, selling cattle or feeding straw to stretch silage.

5. Getting calving sheds ready for action

Wash out and disinfect calving sheds in good time for spring calving.

Make any repairs and alterations to calving gates as necessary. Install good LED lights to facilitate calving at night.

Stock up on calving aids and order the next set of ear tags now to avoid any potential problems with delays in postage.