As we enter December most cows are now housed around the country, beginning an important period of the yearly cycle. Confinement and housing does however brings its own set of risks, with animals being kept in close quarters.

A challenge for the Irish system is damp winters – predominantly silage diets with lower dry matter combined with the damp can lead to mucky conditions. This creates favourable conditions for bacterial growth in housed systems, making hygiene very important. This can be aided by good ventilation and watching stocking densities in sheds.