Make sure to spend some time with the family over Christmas. Getting a break from the normal day-to-day routine can really help to clear the head.

Farming is tough, tiresome and often involves working in isolation for long hours. The winter feeding routine can also become boring.

Just even getting a couple of days downtime will leave you refreshed and raring to get back to it. To help get a break, outlined are some tips to consider.

1. Double up on silage feeding

Double up on silage allocations on Christmas Eve. Leave extra bales or silage grabs from the pit in the feed passage to last two to three days.

Cattle will still need to be checked every day, with extra forage fed out, silage can be pushed in each morning when checking stock.

On outfarms, load up a trailer with extra silage this weekend and, again, leave additional fodder in a handy place for feeding over Christmas.

2. Bedding cattle

Calf creeps or bedded sheds cleaned out in advance will help to stretch clean bedding applied over Christmas.

As with silage feeding, extra bedding on Christmas Eve means animals should have a clean lying area for a couple of days.

Feeding high-dry matter silage with plenty of fibre will also slow the rate that bedding is soiled over the Christmas period.

3. Fill meal buckets in advance

Where cattle are getting meal daily, fill a few extra bags or buckets in the days before Christmas. Stack, cover and store in a dry place, safe from birds and vermin.

4. Postpone non-essential jobs

There are some jobs that can be put off for a couple of days, giving more time to get feeding and bedding sorted and less time spent in the yard.

Such jobs include tagging newborn animals, dehorning, general cattle handling and some farm maintenance tasks.

5. Make use of family help

Many hands make light work. If there are children and family members that help on farms that are on holidays, make use of this extra help.

Delegate certain jobs to certain people. For example, one person looks after silage feeding, one person sorts bedding, etc. That should help to get though jobs quicker.

Finally, I would like to wish all readers a very merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.

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