Weather warnings have been issued for freezing conditions from Sunday evening through the start of next week.

So make sure your farm is prepared for plummeting temperatures.

Outlined are five tips to have the farm prepared for ice and potential snow.

1 Machinery

Make sure that tractors and telehandlers used for feeding animals and daily tasks are winter-ready.

Top up anti-freeze in machines where applicable or coolants in more modern machines.

For older machines that can be hard to start, park the tractor in a more accessible position should you need to attach jump leads.

Have a starter battery pack at hand if machines are slow to start.

2 Keep livestock yard clear

Ice will be inevitable in freezing conditions, so be careful in the yard.

If you have started calving and cows need to be moved from slatted tanks to straw-bedded sheds, scrape the yard first or spread grit to increase grip.

The alternative is to load the cow in the livestock trailer and move directly to the calving shed.

3 Water

Are water pipes insulated with lagging or is metal piping exposed and likely to freeze?

Take whatever steps necessary to ensure water pipes do not burst by freezing. Thaw pipes slowly with a blow torch.

Cattle have a large water intake, particularly cows in milk and finishing animals on high concentrate levels.

Fill plastic drums or IBC containers as a back-up water supply if you commonly experience freezing pipes.

Leaving water taps slightly turned on will reduce the risk of pipes freezing.

Just make sure water is being collected and not running across the yard, as this will freeze and pose a danger.

4 Remove silo pit cover

Pulling back the silo cover can be dangerous at the best of times, but even more so when covered in ice.

Remove the cover in daylight on Saturday before heavy ice becomes a factor. Remove enough cover to last the week.

5 Feeding cattle on outfarms

If silage is normally transported to an outfarm where cattle are housed, can extra bales be left in the yard before adverse weather.

This way, you will only need the tractor to travel to the outfarm when roads are under ice.

This is a safer option than hauling silage in a feeder wagon or trailer when road conditions are treacherous.

Read more

Producing 20 more calves a year at Greenvale

Calls for Minister to open third BEEP Scheme