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Paddock Animals Weather

Daily management and review of your wintering practices in dairy farming is essential for the well-being of cows and the environment. This page highlights the importance of keeping cows comfortable in winter, planning for calving in the right conditions, completing daily checks on paddock, animals, and weather, and considering catch crops to utilise excess nitrogen. Careful management and clear planning ensure success during winter months, protect the environment, and keep your team informed. Following these guidelines will help you maintain good farm practices and animal health during the winter season.

Daily management and reviewing of your wintering practices ensures any gaps or issues identified can be actioned quickly and easily.

Keeping cows comfortable

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Planning to calve in the right conditions

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Daily checks

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Considering a catch crop

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Completing daily checks during winter is essential for all. Ensure the team know the daily expectations. Daily checks should include the paddock, animals and weather.

During daily checks, consider the factors below for deciding when to implement your contingency plan.


  • What does my current break look like?
  • What is the gumboot score?
  • What is the next break looking like? Are you moving into a drier area?
  • Has the next break got any shelter?


  • Are you able to see where the animals have been lying? Finding ‘lying bowls’, the marks cows leave in the soft crumbly soil, indicates that animals have been lying there.
  • Do your cows have a lot of mud on their flank? This indicates they have been lying on an unsuitable surface, and alternatives need to be provided.
  • How are your animals acting? Calm and content, or getting restless?
  • Is this normal behaviour for your herd?


Is the weather improving?

Careful management of your wintering system each day will ensure a successful winter for all involved. Taking the time to create a fit-for-purpose plan for staff and implementing this on farm will help to clarify roles during winter and ensure everyone knows what is expected. Teams that have completed a formal adverse weather plan will be able to take action quickly when needed.

Complete a plan for winter that will help protect the environment, animals and your team. Including animal care factors in your wintering plans ensures the whole farm team understand the levels of care expected on your farm during winter.

Ensure your team knows their role

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Every task is essential

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Last updated: Sep 2023

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