We’ve had a welcome delay to winter 2021 on many farms across the country, with a textbook autumn in terms of grass growth and ground conditions.
On some farms in the west, cows were housed five weeks at this stage in 2020, so we are off to a great start. The change from outdoors to indoors is always a delicate one and you need to be really alert for any signs of animal sickness in the first few weeks of housing. Making sure animals are feeding every day is key and paying attention to little details like clean water troughs, feeding space, lying space, parasite control and nutrition will ensure that targets are hit over the coming winter months.
On drystock farms, we are not good at hitting target growth rates indoors, especially with weanlings
There is no magic bullet when it comes to animal performance indoors. It’s about doing all the little things well. On drystock farms, we are not good at hitting target growth rates indoors, especially with weanlings.
Darren Carty outlines some key advice around animal health and housing on sheep farms and some lessons learned on the Northern Ireland Sheep Programme. Sharing knowledge from farmer experience is invaluable in terms of making improvements on other farms and is the backbone of many of our farm programmes.
Kieran Mailey details his top five tips for animal housing on drystock farms and what areas need attention in the coming months.
Aidan Brennan takes a look at winter management on dairy farms, including managing body condition score and what route farmers should take with dry cow therapy. Finally, we take a look at controlling winter parasites on cattle farms with particular reference to liver fluke.
While 2021 has been a good grazing year, farmers should remain vigilant to the threat this disease poses to animal thrive and wellbeing.