As January gets under way, there a few management tasks to put on the to-do list outside of the day-to-day feeding and bedding routine. Some of these tasks include:

Soil sampling

The cost of fertiliser means soil sampling has never been more important. Get a handle on which fields will respond best to early slurry or chemical nitrogen.

Sample fields as early as possible and definitely before any slurry or bagged fertiliser is applied to kickstart grass growth.

Scanning autumn cows

On farms with an August- to October-calving herd, breeding activity should be low. Pregnancy scanning should be carried out later this month to determine which animals are back in-calf and if there are cows to possibly offload.

Feeding pre-calving minerals

Cows due to start calving in February should be offered pre-calving minerals to reduce issues at calving time and improve calf vigour. Minerals should be offered from six weeks out before calving starts.

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 here.

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.

Getting calving sheds ready for action

Wash out and disinfect calving sheds in good time for spring calving. Make any repairs and alterations as necessary. Install good LED lights to facilitate calving at night.

Stock up on calving aids and order tags now to avoid any potential problems with delays in postage.

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