Dry and mild weather looks set to carry on through the weekend. This will see more farmers looking to turn cows and calves out to grass, relieving the pressure on calving facilities and shed space.

Daytime temperatures are on the rise and with no real risk of overnight frost in the days ahead, it is a good opportunity to slip spring-calving cows outside to drier land.

However, give some thought to which paddocks to turn cows and calves out to grass. Choose paddocks with plenty of shelter, be it from hedgerows, trees or farm buildings next to paddocks.

Also, target smaller paddocks close to the yard or handling pens in case there is a requirement to rehouse or treat a sick calf.

Herd checks

Keep a close eye on calves by checking at least twice per day. Spend 10 to 15 minutes watching calves for signs of pneumonia every time you check on animals.

Cows are also at risk from grass tetany, so make sure they are properly supplemented with magnesium. Again, cows should be checked at least twice daily.

Turn cows out in late morning when daytime temperatures are rising, rather than in evening when temperature will start to drop.

This gives cows the afternoon to settle at grass and young calves more time to adjust to the change in environment.

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