Autumn and Winter Housing for Cattle

Date: 12/10/18

Autumn and Winter Housing for Cattle

After a challenging summer of endless sunshine and dry weather, it is more important than ever that cattle farmers make the right provisions for autumn and winter housing if they are to get the maximum benefit from their herds. A report from Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland, predicts that: “Overall, farm income will be down substantially across all the main farm systems in 2018, with incomes on dairy farms in 2018 typically only half of what was achieved in 2017.”

Proactive planning is more important than ever for struggling farmers as winter approaches, to avoid any further losses over the coming season.

Preparing your sheds

For maximum biosecurity, it is essential to prepare sheds properly before the animals are moved inside. Kilco offers a wide range of detergents and disinfectants, including leading brands like Ecofoam Advanced, Cyclex and Virex, which can be used as part of your preparations to create a clean and hygienic environment for your cattle. Kilco can also help with bedding, with products like Envirex bedding powder increasing comfort while reducing infection risks.

Preparing your cattle

Managing herd hygiene and disease prevention will be much more difficult once animals are moved inside, so you need to be proactive in the weeks leading up to winter housing. Foot bathing routines are often relaxed during the summer months when animals are in pasture, but these need to be fully reinstated, using products such as Farmalin, prior to the move indoors. 

Winter housing can cause stress for animals, and this in turn can suppress the immune system and lead to increases in digital dermatitis, so it is vital to tackle the disease in advance. Stress also leaves cattle more vulnerable to many other diseases and pests, and so it is important to ensure that all vaccinations are up to date and parasites are under control.

Assessing your feed

One of the biggest problems caused by the long hot summer has been a lack of quality grass for feed and silage. The NFU has had to establish a Fodder Bank to help struggling farmers to source the feed they need. 

If quality fodder is an issue for you then it is important to assess and predict dietary needs carefully ahead of the winter season, and to make provision for nutritional supplements if required. The Kilco team can help with a range of feed additives that maintain healthy vitamin and mineral levels as well as ensuring sufficient energy is available for calf growth and milk production.

Maintaining biosecurity

With lots of animals kept in close quarters for prolonged periods, and increased stress levels lowering natural immunity, the risk of disease in winter housing is significantly increased. This means that your biosecurity procedures have to be tighter than ever, with the right protocols in place and the right products available to maintain health and hygiene. The expert Kilco team have decades of experience in biosecurity planning and can visit your farm to help you create your plan and train your team to execute it effectively.

Don’t let a challenging summer roll over into a challenging winter too. With a market leading products and professional advice from Kilco, you can properly prepare for the season ahead.

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